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Sunday School: 9 AM
Worship: 10:30 AM
SUNDAY @ 10:30am (1 wk. delay)
MONDAY @ 7:00pm (1 wk. delay)

Rev. Ed Bray

Though I resisted the call to ministry as a young person the whole idea of it was always in the back of my mind.  One of many things that confirmed it for me was when I gave a sermon on Youth Sunday.  I was 14 years old.  Afterward, my Sunday School teacher told me that if I didn’t go into ministry I would miss my calling.

My first pastorate was at Ripley Congregational Church (UCC) outside Greenwich, Ohio.  I was in seminary and looking for opportunities to fill in (do pulpit supply).  I just wanted experience preaching.  Ripley was in the midst of a pastoral search.  Over the course of six months I preached there on three different occasions.  Much to my surprise, they issued a call for me to come and be their pastor.  I never expected the invitation but welcomed it, became licensed by the Association and became their pastor in May, 1973 at the age of 22.  Then on June 15, 1975 I was ordained at Ripley and formally installed as pastor.

In 1976 I answered the call to serve a two-point charge west of Akron, Ohio.  I served both Mt. Zwingli UCC, Wadsworth and Emanuel UCC, Doylestown.  Emanuel was the home church of St. Paul’s former pastor, Howard Poetter.  Howard’s brother Paul is still a member there.  Their father was pastor of Emanuel for decades and died while serving that congregation.

While I was there two great things happened.  We doubled the size of Emanuel’s building and the Mt. Zwingli church was strengthened to the point that it could separate from the charge.  Mt. Zwingli then had their first full-time pastor in their 125 year history.  They both are strong and great churches to this day.

In 1981 the Ohio Conference of the UCC called me to become the founding pastor of what would become the Eastgate UCC, east of Cincinnati.  As the congregation developed the average age of the membership was 35.  I knocked on thousands of doors, working hard to build it to 99 adult members.  It was not an easy task.  A number of years after my departure the congregation unfortunately disbanded.

In 1986 I became pastor of Trinity UCC, Miamisburg.  The congregation grew larger while I was there.  We added an associate pastor.  The congregation had been known for its’ rocky relationship with its pastors and for often firing them.  (They had just fired the pastor previous to me).  The Association Minister hoped I could calm them down and bring some healing to their life.  After 9 ½ years there I then received another call.

The Michigan Conference of the UCC contacted me; though I wasn’t searching for a new call.  They invited me to submit my resume to the Grosse Pointe Congregational UCC in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan.  The previous pastor had retired after 23 years of service.  Usually, when you follow a lengthy pastorate it’s what clergy refer to as a “kamikaze mission”; you don't last long.  I became their pastor in 1995 and lasted 12 years and 10 months; the second longest pastorate in their history.

The pressures and daily stress of metropolitan life (Grosse Pointe is on the edge of Detroit) weighed heavy on us so we decided we needed a change.  God honored that need and opened the doors for me to become your pastor.  We are grateful to be living in St. Marys and I am honored to be your pastor.