Ray to leave Tupelo First United Methodist

TUPELO – The Rev. Andy Ray will leave as senior pastor of Tupelo First United Methodist Church after the denomination’s statewide annual conference in June.
Ray first made the announcement to the congregation of more than 1,500 during services on March 13, and repeated it in the church newsletter Sunday.
The 59-year-old father of one has served as First Methodist’s senior pastor for five years, and before that he was a district superintendent in Meridian. He was ordained as a full elder in the United Methodist Church in Tupelo in 1976.
“A lot of good things have happened since I’ve been here in Tupelo, and it’s the nature of who we are as United Methodist preachers that we come for a season and move on to the next church,” said Ray, whose father and grandfather were also United Methodist ministers.
“John Wesley said that no single pastor has all the gifts to completely serve the needs of any one church, and that’s why we rotate,” he added.
United Methodists operate on a system of appointments and Ray won’t know anything about his future work or his replacement at First United Methodist until he hears from the leader of the conference, Bishop Hope Morgan Ward, probably closer to annual conference.
Contact Galen Holley at (662) 678-1510 or galen.holley@journalinc.com.

Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal