Jon Gray

Church Name: Centennial (Kansas City)

Share any relevant background information including leadership experience both within the church and in other areas of your life.

I have been an elected delegate to General Conference in 1988, 1992, 1996, 2000 and 2004. At the 2004 General Conference, I was elected to serve an 8 year term on The UMC Judicial Council. I attended the 2008 and 2012 sessions as a member of the Judicial Council. Member of Centennial UMC (KC) since1964. Served as chair of a legislative committee at the 2004 GC. I have the drive, the passion and the energy to devote my full self to the task of being a delegate from the Missouri Conference. I am a lawyer by training and I offer dispute resolution services. I believe such skill is needed for the church to find its way forward amid divergent views. I am indebted to the church for its support of me through UM Student Loans, through the Board of Global Ministries Crusade Scholarship.

Describe your personal practices of intentional faith development that strengthen your spiritual engagement with God and your capacity for fruitful leadership in the church.

I engage in daily meditation and Bible study. On the secular side, I read the newsletters and websites of all of the UM affiliated groups in order to understand issues facing the church from multiple points of view, including views that are different from my Christian experience.

Why do you seek election as a lay delegate representing the Missouri Conference?

I believe that all views within our fellowship need to be represented in our delegation. Each delegate must come to the task with an open heart and a willingness to hear the stories and the aspirations of others and seek to understand the faith walk of everyone at the table.

How will your involvement in General Conference 2020 support the church to fulfill the mission “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world”?

My previous service as a delegate provides me with a significant store of understanding of the GC legislative process, the needs of our church at the present time and the need to remain in relationship and fellowship with all of the people called United Methodist.

Since the primary focus for Jurisdictional Conference is to elect new bishops, what qualifications do you think the church needs in its future episcopal leaders?

I have watched numerous episcopal elections and I often lament the dearth of spirit filled leaders offering themselves for consideration. Many enter upon the quest without considering the personal cost to their families and to their lifestyle. I have at times felt that the church needed inspirational leaders rather that business focused administrators.