No fewer than 500 well wishers gather on a Friday evening to celebrate the Rev. Dr. James B. Gray Jr. and his successful four year journey as president of the United Baptist Missionary Convention of Maryland (UBMC) and its Auxiliaries.
According to Dr. Gray he enjoyed every minute of his presidency which included several accomplishments that will impact the convention for many years to come.
One of the most noticeable of these accomplishments was the revision of
the constitution that changed the officer election procedures along with the addition of the newly organized Children, Youth and Young Adult Auxiliary.
Instead of a keynote speaker, greetings and accolades were delivered by UBMC current and former officers, auxiliary leaders, Pleasant Zion Church leaders and members of the Gray family. The vice presidents, including the newly elected Dr. & Mrs. Hoffman Brown Rev. Gray with past UBMC presidents, Dr. Matthew Jones, left and Dr. Charles Coger president, the Rev. Dr. Cleveland Mason, spoke of the evening as being a “happy and reflective time.” Other speakers frequently referred to Dr. Gray as a “man empowered by the vision.”
Speaking for the family, his daughter, Marvella Gray revealed how happy she is that now the family can cruise the waters without interruptions due to her father’s constant telephone conversations regarding convention issues.
In a previously recorded video interview by the Rev. Domanic Smith, when asked how he would like to be remembered, Dr. Gray said he wanted people to remember that “I did my best,” The video also shared some of his past history and intimate thoughts with guest.
Even though the Martins West celebration was designed to pay tribute to Dr. Gray, he took time to express appreciation to the past presidents and people he felt were helpful to his administration. Throughout his tenure, he humbly said “I can’t do it by myself.”
Lavern Jones, banquet chairperson with the Rev. Domanic A. Smith, newly elected UBMC recording secretary Jones, inducted the honoree into the Former President’s Council. “He is a good man, a kind man, “ Rev. Coger said, adding that God has more things in store for him.
Music for the occasion was furnished by soloist The Rev. A.C.D. Vaughn, at the podium, provoking laughter The two living past presidents, the Reverends Charles Coger and Matthew Jewel Perry, the Statham Singers and the Just Us Jazz Band.