Digging into Prayer:
An Archaeologist’s Perspective
Dr. James Flemming

Sunday, February 21, 2016
FUMC Sanctuary

Session 1: Why Some Prayers Can and Others Cannot Be Answered As We Wish
8:45 & 11:00 Worship Services

Session 2: Prayers in the Holy Name of God and in the Character of Jesus
3:00-3:55 p.m.

Session 3: Why We Share our Prayers and The Power Within Them
4:05-4:55 p.m.

James Fleming
Ed.D.,  Biblical Resources
Biographical Sketch


Dr. James Fleming serves as Director of Biblical Resources Study Center (BRSC), an ecumenical organization serving Christians around the world. Dr. Fleming has developed courses of study in historical geography and biblical history, uniquely tying the studies with the biblical text and emphasizing the wedding of theological/faith relationships.

Dr. Fleming lived and worked in Israel from 1974 to 2006, where he founded and directed the World of the Bible Archaeological Museum and Pilgrim Center in Jerusalem. Dr. Fleming has since established the Biblical History Center, a similar archaeological museum in LaGrange, Georgia, that opened in June 2006. The Biblical History Center is a museum with interactive exhibits of daily life in the biblical world and where “authentic” Last Supper/Passover meals are served Roman style, and in 2013 became one of four museums in the United States to house antiquities on loan from the Israeli Antiquities Authority.

He holds an Ed.D. degree from Southwestern Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Fleming has also taught classes in the School for Overseas Students at Hebrew University in Israel. Teaching aids developed by Dr. Fleming are in use by theological institutions in Europe, Asia and Africa. As a cartography consultant to the Curriculum Department of the Israeli Ministry of Education, he has illustrated government textbooks teaching biblical history with maps and photography. Dr. Fleming works with the Israeli Ministry of Tourism instructing Jewish and Arab guides about important New Testament and Byzantine period sites.

Dr. Fleming divides his time among four major activities—1) lecturing around the world, mainly in the United States, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South America and South Africa; 2) leading study tours to the Holy Land and the Mediterranean World; 3) teaching guide courses in Israel and directing ministries of Biblical Resources in Israel and U.S., and 4) supervising the Biblical History Center in LaGrange, Georgia.

Dr. Fleming’s lectures weave four perspectives to help us understand Biblical times—Archaeology, History, Geography, and Theology.  He uses an ecumenical approach to suggest implications of old and recent discoveries for faith journeys of students.  Through his lectures, you embark on a journey to the ancient lands of the Bible bringing you closer to the lives of the ancient teachers and prophets, and to the peoples that heard Jesus.

Mary Ellen Harrell Bullard Lectureship in Christian Spirituality

This lectureship was established by Mary Ellen’s husband, John, and by their sons and their families for the purpose of continuing Mary Ellen’s legacy of making disciples of Jesus Christ through Bible Study, Prayer, and Spiritual Development.  Its vision is to promote a vibrant orthodox Christianity, with an emphasis on prayer and spiritual development, by bringing to First United Methodist Church those recognized authorities who  can contribute to this goal.  Dr. James Fleming is the speaker for this inaugural lecture.  For many years, John and Mary Ellen Bullard were the North American representatives for Dr. Fleming’s international ministry of Biblical archeology and teaching.   

The Mary Ellen Harrell Bullard Lectureship in Christian Spirituality will not necessarily always be held as part of the Prayer Conference or the Bible Conference.  2016 is the year for our biennial Prayer Conference.  Because of the Bullard’s personal relationship with Dr. Fleming, this is the perfect time for the inaugural lectureship.

Mary Ellen Harrell Bullard

Mary Ellen Harrell Bullard graduated from University of North Carolina-Greensboro (Womans College) in 1947.  She pursued graduate study at Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1955, and earned a MS in Adult Education from Troy University in 1979.  She served as Director of Christian Education at two United Methodist Churches in the Western North Carolina Conference.  Mary Ellen, and her husband John, loved traveling to Israel for educational studies through Biblical Resources Study Center in Jerusalem and was the US Director of the Biblical Studies Resource Center.

Mary Ellen was a board member of the American Cancer Society and Catholic Resurrection Mission, served with United Way, the Montgomery Symphony League, was a Cub Scout Den Mother, shepherded her two sons to their Eagle Scout Award, and was a tutor for T.S. Morris Elementary School.  She was a member of the Ionian Literary Club for 42 years.

She was a life long member of the United Methodist Church and was involved at all levels. At First United Methodist Church Montgomery she was a member and president of the Tower Sunday School Class, member of the Administrative Board, led the United Methodist Women, served on Finance and Stewardship Committee’s and, with her husband, taught the Discipleship Bible Study Series.   

She served on the Committee of 100, Candler School of Theology, Emory University from 1971 to 1994, Board of Hinton Rural Life Center in North Carolina, and was a delegate to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference at Lake Junaluska, North Carolina.

On the national level, Mary Ellen served as a delegate to three General Conferences.  For eight years she was a member of the General Council on Finance and Administration.

Internationally, Mary Ellen was a member of the World Methodist Council since 1981 and served on the Executive Committee.  She attended six World Methodist Conferences and several Executive Committee meetings all around the word.  She was Vice Chairperson of the World Methodist Evangelism Institute Committee.

In 2008, Mary Ellen and her husband, John, nominated by Huntingdon College, were the recipients of the United Methodist Higher Education Foundation’s Stanley S. Kresge Award.  The award recognized their “dedicated membership in the United Methodist Church and unselfish support of United Methodist-related education.”

Mary Ellen was active in the Alabama West Florida Conference serving as a Conference Lay Leader, and Chairperson of the Vision 2000 Task Force.  She received the Alice Lee Award in 1994, for service to church, community, and women of the Alabama-West Florida Conference.  She was a strong supporter of the Nellie Burge Community Center which has transitioned into a longterm center for homeless women and their children.  It is renamed Mary Ellen’s Hearth in her honor.

Mary Ellen inspired and touched all those she met.  She loved God, her family and lived a full life.  She was a devoted, loving Christian wife, mother, grandmother, and friend.