James Rudy Gray, editor and president of the Baptist Courier, announced this past spring his plans to retire at the end of the year. Following a decade of service with the Courier, Gray reflected on the ministry opportunity.
“It has been a blessing to serve as the editor,” Gray said, adding that his tenure marks 10 years and two months with the publication. “The challenges, rewards and excellent staff have made this decade in my life one of peace and joy.”
“As I leave The Courier,” Gray noted, “I do so with great satisfaction and gratitude for this wonderful opportunity God has given me.”
A pastor, writer and Christian counselor with roots in journalism, Gray, 69, expanded the Courier from an award-winning print publication into a multifaceted communications ministry.
The Courier’s ministry now encompasses book publishing, Christian tours, video reporting, a donor-based support network and a student internship program.
Diligent, enthusiastic leadership
Emerson Shipe, chairman of the board of trustees for The Courier, said, “[Dr. Gray] has instituted and skillfully managed significant changes to keep the publication in the forefront of Baptist state newspapers.
Gray has worked diligently with new approaches ranging from totally changing The Courier to a magazine format to various innovative ways to keep The Courier financially sound. With his energy and enthusiasm, he will continue to be a messenger of the gospel, his life’s calling.”
Gary Hollingsworth, executive director of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, said, “His passion for telling the stories of South Carolina Baptists coupled with years of pastoral experience and his professional journalistic talent make him a rare gift.
“We congratulate him on his upcoming retirement and are confident God will continue to use him in great ways in future days,” he said.
As a student at Anderson University, Gray served as sports editor for the yearbook and the campus newspaper and later was editor for the paper. He also was a sports writer for the Anderson Independent, a daily general-circulation newspaper.
‘Thirst’ for journalism
After attending Anderson and Southern Wesleyan universities, Gray earned a master of theology and doctor of ministry from Luther Rice Seminary. He also earned a master’s degree in counseling at Liberty University.
His career path changed after he accepted a call into pastoral ministry, but Gray never lost his “thirst” for journalism throughout his ministry.
In addition to Utica Baptist Church in Seneca, South Carolina, where he had served 18 years at the time of his election as editor, he was pastor of Roebuck Baptist Church, First Baptist Church Central and Unity Baptist Church in Starr.
Prior to becoming editor, Gray served as South Carolina Baptist Convention president in 2009 and as a parliamentarian. He was a board member and trustee chairman for New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and a trustee for Anderson University. He served two terms on the Courier’s board in the 1990s.
Gray is certified by the National Board of Certified Counselors.
In addition to his most-recent books, “In the Shadow of the Angels” and “You Can Live Until You Die,” Gray is author of four others: “Will the Real Pastor Please Stand Up,” “Worry: The Silent Killer,” “Jude: The Alarm Has Sounded” and “Marriage That Works Is Work.”
Gray and his wife, Anne, a retired high school math teacher, have three married daughters and four grandchildren.