May 17, 2020
Dear New Philadelphia Family,
As you know, over the past months the Joint Boards have been engaged in the call process for our congregation. This included the Boards determining that we would move to have one pastor. We appreciate your prayers and support for us and your patience during this time.
We also give thanks for the leadership and care provided by our intentional interim pastor, Rev. Larry Jones, and especially the continued ministry of our associate pastor, Rev. Joe Moore, during the interim period and during the challenges of dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. We also are grateful for everyone who has done their part in the continuing work and witness of our church during this time.
Today I am pleased to announce that, at the Joint Boards’ request, the Provincial Elders’ Conference has extended a call to serve as pastor, which has been accepted by the Right Rev. Sam Gray, who is currently Director of Mission Outreach with the North American Board of World Mission.
Based on the Joint Boards’ decision, the Provincial Elders’ Conference will be placing Joe Moore on a leave of absence funded by the congregation beginning in mid-June. During this leave, Joe will be open to Call to another ministry setting. Joe’s last Sunday in worship with us will be June 21.
Bishop Gray was born in Winston-Salem and grew up in a missionary family with his parents, the Rev. Joe and Lahoma Gray and four siblings, and lived in Nicaragua for 11 years.
He graduated from the Stony Brook School (Long Island, NY), attended Moravian College, worked for a year in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, completed studies in Elementary Education at Moravian College, and took additional coursework at Fuller Seminary in Pasadena, California. For more than 13 years he was a missionary in Honduras as a high school teacher, Director of the Bible Institute, Christian Education Director, as well as organizing pastor of Israel Moravian Church in Tegucigalpa.
Sam returned to Moravian Theological Seminary in 1993, earned the Master of Divinity degree in 1996, was ordained, and served as the Assistant Pastor of Emmaus Moravian Church and Director of Youth Ministries with the Eastern District of the Moravian Church, Northern Province. He was pastor of the New Hope Moravian Church, Miami, FL from 1998 until joining the staff of the Board of World Mission in 2004. Sam was elected a Bishop of our worldwide Unity by our 2006 Southern Province Synod.
Sam and his wife, Lorena, have three sons: Luke, Tim and Christian David, as well as two granddaughters, Rachel and Gabriella Marie.
The church boards will be planning ways we can offer our appreciation and best wishes to Joe Moore as he concludes ministry here next month.
A service of installation for Sam Gray is being planned for Sunday, June 28, and he will begin ministry here at New Philadelphia on July 1.
We know you will join with the Joint Boards as we say goodbye to Joe and prepare for Sam’s arrival. We invite your prayers for Joe and his family, for Sam and his family, for the Board of World Mission, and for our congregation during these days of transition and new beginnings.
In Christ’s Love,
Vice-Chair, Board of Elders
Board of Elders, 2020: Frank Chitty, Michael Crane, Cindy Daggett, Maggie Davis (Youth representative), April Greenwood, Cynthia Fearrington, Franklin Nifong, Nancy Renn, Tina Spach, Andi Williams, secretary; Kay Windsor, vice-chair; Tiffany Woods
Board of Trustees, 2020: Alan Barber, Bruce Bradley, Bill Byrd, Tony Ebert, Constance Linville, Brad Pitts, Chris Rogers, secretary; David Stanfield, vice chair; Ron Tedder, Susie Tickle, Earl Wall, chair; Becky Ward