The Rev. Roosevelt Gray Jr. began serving Nov. 1 as director of LCMS Black Ministry, the long-established Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod ministry serving predominantly black communities and ministering to African immigrants.
In his new role, Gray will provide leadership and direction for LCMS districts, congregations, schools and related organizations as they minister to minority groups in their communities. He also will serve as a liaison to the churchwide Black Clergy Caucus and oversee the development of resources to support LCMS Black Ministry throughout the Synod.
“Black Ministry in the LCMS began in 1877, only 30 years after the Synod was formed,” said the Rev. Bart Day, executive director of the LCMS Office of National Mission. “Though the way this ministry operates over the decades has changed, the need for it has not. In Rev. Gray, we have a tremendous leader poised to move the ministry forward as we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ amid a changing America.”
Gray is filling a position that has been open since 2010, when the LCMS Board for Black Ministry Services was disbanded following the restructure mandated by the Synod in convention. Most recently, the Rev. Dr. Frazier Odom served the ministry as interim director.
As the Synod looks toward the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017 — and the 150th anniversary of LCMS black ministry in 2027 — Gray said that LCMS members involved in black ministry “will seek to be encouraged, equipped and empowered to Witness, show Mercy and live Life Together, vigorously proclaiming the love of God to all people.”
Gray said he’s “excited about the opportunity of working with our pastors, lay leaders, congregations, districts and synodical entities in resourcing and reaching all ethnic groups — especially African-Americans — with the wonderful Good News of a God who loves them and has proven His love by giving us the greatest gift of all ages: His Son — Christ, our Savior.”
Prior to joining the staff of the LCMS International Center in St. Louis, Gray served as assistant to the president for Missions/Evangelism in the LCMS Michigan District, a call he accepted in 2001. He served as pastor of Faith Lutheran Church and Lutheran City Ministries in Detroit from 1997 to 2001; director of admissions, recruitment and vicarage at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., from 1994 to 1997; and as pastor of Mount Calvary Lutheran Church, Houston, from 1988 to 1994.
Gray graduated in 1988 with a Master of Divinity from Concordia Theological Seminary and in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in Printing Production and Management from Alabama A&M University, Huntsville, Ala.
The director of LCMS Black Ministry position is in line with the Synod’s restructure and is covered in the Synod’s budget.