Feast of Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr. (May 12)   Leave a comment

Episcopal Bishop of Mississippi (1943-1966); died in 1966

Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr., was born in Meridian, Mississippi, in 1898.  Ordained deacon in 1925, he became a priest the following year.  From 1926 to 1943 Gray served churches in Canton, Lexington, Columbus, Macon, and Greenwood, Mississippi.

After Bishop William Mercer Green, Jr., died the Diocese of Mississippi elected Gray to be the fifth Bishop on January 19, 1943.  His consecration occurred on May 12, 1943.  As Bishop Gray oversaw the growth and development of Camp Bratton, begun in 1924.  This project led to the founding of a camp and conference center, Rose Hill, in 1946.  Today this is the Duncan M. Gray Center.

Bishop Gray Sr. was committed to racial integration.  (Given the reactionary politics of the state at the time this was quite unpopular.)  In 1954 he accepted a diocesan report, “The Church Considers the Supreme Court Decision,” which affirmed Brown I and quoted the Bible to call racism sinful.  Duncan M. Gray, Jr. (then a priest and later the seventh Bishop of Mississippi, 1974-1993) sat on the diocesan board which wrote the report.  Also, Gray Sr. integrated St. Andrew’s School, Jackson, voluntarily in 1959.  This was the first case of a voluntary school integration in the state.

In 1960, citing ill health, Gray Sr. called for the election of a Bishop Coadjutor, who turned out to be John Maury Allin, consecrated in 1961.  Gray Sr. retired in April 1966 and died on May 31 of the same year.  (Bishop Allin resigned in 1974 to become Presiding Bishop, a post he held for twelve years.  He was liberal by Mississippi standards, yet relatively conservative in Episcopal Church circles.  For example, he supported civil rights and instituted affirmative action in the church yet opposed the ordination of women.)

Today the Bishop of Mississippi is Duncan Montgomery Gray, III.

KRT

Almighty God, you have raised up faithful bishops of your church, including your servant Duncan Montgomery Gray, Sr.  May the memory of his life be a source of joy for us and a bulwark of our faith, so that we may serve and confess your name before the world, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.  Amen.

Ezekiel 34:11-16 or Acts 20:17-35

Psalm 84

1 Peter 5:1-4 or Ephesians 3;14-21

Matthew 24:42-47

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