Celebration banquet held for outgoing UBMC president

— Five hundred well wishers gathered the evening of Friday, May 23, 2014 to celebrate the end of Reverend Dr. James B. Gray, Jr.’s successful four year journey as president of the United Baptist Missionary Convention (UBMC) of Maryland and its Auxiliaries, Inc.

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 accomplishments was the revision of the constitution, which changed the officer election procedures along with the addition of the newly organized Children, Youth and Young Adult Auxiliary.

Instead of having a keynote speaker, greetings and accolades were delivered by current and former UBMC officers, auxiliary leaders, Pleasant Zion Church leaders and family members. Vice presidents, including the newly elected president, 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 the family can now cruise the waters without interruptions due to her father’s constant telephone conversations regarding convention issues.

In a previously recorded video interview by Rev. Domanic Smith when asked how he would like to be remembered, Dr. Gray stated that he wants people to remember that,“I did my best.” The video also shared some of his past history and intimate thoughts with guests at the event.

Even though the Martins West celebration was designed to pay tribute to Dr. Gray, he took time to thank the past presidents and a number of other people who he felt were helpful to his administration. Throughout his tenure, he humbly said, “I can’t do it by myself.”

Rev. Dr. Gray, Jr. was inducted into the Former President’s Council by the two living past presidents, Rev. Charles Coger and Rev. Dr. Matthew Jones.

“He is a good man, a kind man,” said Rev. Coger and added that God has more things in store for him.

Music for the occasion was provided by soloist Jewel Perry, the Statham Singers and the Just Us Jazz Band.

UBMC to hold first faith based candidate’s election forum

On Thursday, April 3, 2014, the United Baptist Missionary Convention (UBMC) and Auxiliaries of Maryland, Inc. will sponsor a candidate’s forum for member pastors seeking leadership positions in the faith group. In compliance with the recently adopted revisions of the UBMC Constitution and By-laws, this year will mark the first time since its inception that the Convention elections have been openly competitive.

A record crowd of several hundred interested spectators, representing pastors, officers and lay church members is expected to gather at the Wayland Baptist Church in West Baltimore to witness this historic event.

Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from candidates before the convening of the 88th Annual UBMC Convention during the week of May 18, 2014. In accordance with criteria spelled out in the Faith group’s constitution. Voting for new officers will occur prior to the closing session on Friday, May 23, 2014.

Currently, the focus of the election is on the two presidential candidates, Reverend Boyer G. Freeman, pastor of the New Saint Mark Baptist Church; and Reverend Cleveland T. A. Mason, 2nd pastor of the Perkins Square Baptist Church. They currently serve as the second and first vice presidents respectively.

There is also a great deal of interest in the outcome of the First Vice President position.

The three pastors vying for this position are Alvin Gwynn, Sr., Friendship Baptist Church; Donte’ L. Hickman, Sr., Southern Baptist Church; and Franklin Lance, Mt. Lebanon Baptist Church.

Pastors Kirk J. Jackson, New Mount Hebron Baptist Church and Mark Nolan, New Hope Baptist Church, Bel Air are competing for second vice president.

Pastors Dean A. Jones-Evans, United Missionary Baptist Church, Eastern Shore and Willie Mason, Second Baptist Church, Annapolis are competing for third vice president.

Both recording secretary nominee, Pastor Domanic A. Smith, Ezekiel Church and Ministries; and nominee for treasurer, Pastor Joel Small, First Baptist Church, Cherry Hill, are uncontested. Each of the nominees will be given time to share their vision for the future growth of the Convention. A question and answer session will close out the session.

Founded in 1926, the United Baptist Convention and Auxiliaries of Maryland, Inc. is presently under the leadership of outgoing president Reverend James B. Gray, Jr. pastor, Pleasant Zion Baptist Church in Dundalk, Maryland.