The Rev. Warren J. Ray, Jr.
is the first child of the late Mrs. Florence LaGrue Ray and our immediate past pastor, the late Reverend Warren J. Ray, Sr.
He attended James Weldon Johnson Elementary School, Alfred C. Priestley Junior High School, and Xavier University Preparatory High School. He has earned degrees in chemistry from Xavier University of Louisiana (B.S., '65), Tuskegee Institute (M.S., '67), and the University of New Orleans, (PhD., '89). He has also done graduate work in chemistry at Loyola University. To prepare himself for the Christian ministry, Rev. Ray attended Union Baptist Theological Seminary and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary (Master of Divinity, May 1979). In June, 1981, Rev. Ray was awarded the honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from United Theological Seminary in Monroe, LA. He has done further study at Bethel Theological Seminary in St. Paul, MN.
In August 1989 Rev. Ray returned on a part-time basis to the faculty of Xavier University of Louisiana where he holds the rank of Assistant Professor of Chemistry. In May 1993 he was honored by the University as the recipient of the 1993 Bush Excellence in Teaching Award.
Rev. Ray was baptized at Second Free Mission B.C. at the age of twelve by the late Reverend Peter Brown Fortner. As a layman, he served faithfully and untiringly in various capacities including the Deacon Board, the Trustee Board, the Select Choir, the Male Chorus, the building Committee, Sunday School teacher and Superintendent, and many other positions.
Rev. Ray was ordained to the gospel ministry at this church on November 1, 1973, and was installed as pastor on November 27, 1973, by the First District Missionary Baptist Association, Dr. P. W. Raphael, President.
Rev. Ray has provided outstanding and unexcelled leadership during his ministry here at Second Free Mission. With the cooperation and support of the officers and members, we now enjoy the singing of the Sanactuary Choir; the SFMBC Ensemble; Vacation Bible School; winter and summer revivals and training institutes; Family Emphasis Week; Family Day Observance; and weekly Bible Class, taught by our Pastor, with extensive use of audio-visual aids. He has brought a number of outstanding religious film presentations to our church, and has been instrumental in bringing tow commodities programs to our church and in obtaining financial assistance for needy persons. In cooperation with the Carrollton-Hollygrove Multi-Purpose Center a daily meals program for senior citizens was established.
Through his work with the Greater New Orleans Federation of Churches he served on the committee for the African Famine Relief Effort in 1985 sponsored by the Southeast Louisiana Chapter of the American Red Cross. He led our church in supporting this drive to help famine victims in Africa. Under his leadership our church has supported such mission projects as the Mexican Earthquake Relief Effort, Pace Boulevard YMCA, Oxfam America's Annual Fast for a World Harvest, Food for the Hungry, United Negro College Fund, and many other local and world mission projects. He served two consecutive terms as chairman of the Greater New Orleans Federation of Churches Hunger Committee.
Through his work with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and the Louisiana Coalition for the March on Washington, he was instrumental in obtaining transportation for many of our members and others to attend the 20th Anniversary Celebration in 1988. For many years he served as Chairman of the Board of the local SCLC Chapter, and frequently served as substitute host for "The SCLC Forum" on radio station WYLD. On several occasions our church hosted the city-wide birthday celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., as well as the SCLC annual memorial service.
Through the Greater New Orleans Federation of Churches our pastor has appeared on various television programs, and in June of 1984 our church was privileged to participate in the World's Fair Ministry by leading a Sunday morning worship service at the Louisiana World Exposition.
Rev. Ray is the secretary of the Upper City Ministers Union; a member of the Executive board and Director of the Department of Christian Education of the First District Missionary Baptist Association; President of the First District Congress of Christian Education; President of the New Orleans Regional Board of One Church-One Child; and member of the New Orleans Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Planning Committee and chairman of the Ministers Memorial Service Committee. He is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Greater New Orleans Federation of Churches.
Under Rev. Ray's administration, we held ground breaking ceremonies for the new church building on Sunday, November 26, 1978. The old building was demolished and, thank the Lord, on Sunday, May 18, 1980, we dedicated our new church edifice and burned the note in May 1998. In 1983 and 1994 the church was successful in acquiring additional property next the church. With our most recent acquisition we now have four additional pieces of properties in the immediate vicinity of our church all paid for. During his ministry, Pastor Ray has touched the lives of many people - preaching, teaching, baptizing, serving, helping, doing whatever he can, where he can, in the spirit of the Lord.
May God continue to strengthen and bless this fine,
energetic dedicated, Christian gentleman.