VALLEY FORGE, PA (10/30/23)—At the Yale Divinity School (YDS) Alumni Association Awards Ceremony and Reception on October 12, Dr. Jeffrey Haggray, American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS) executive director, was honored with the Distinction in Congregational Ministry award, a recognition of individuals who have “shown exceptional pastoral competence in the work of developing the ministry and mission of local congregations.” The awards ceremony was part of the school’s 2023 convocation and alumni reunion.
Haggray, a 1988 graduate of the Master of Divinity program, said: “Yale Divinity School prepared me for congregational ministry [and] leadership in the church and provided the theological, ethical [and] historical foundation that I needed to enter [and] engage the world with a sense of confidence.” He went on to say, “And my greatest passion at this stage of my life is to try to impact emerging leaders. There’s nothing more I want for myself.”
In the executive director role at ABHMS since 2015, Haggray has led many transformations at the organization, including the creation of both ministrElife, a social media platform for ministry professionals, and the Center for Continuous Learning, ABHMS’ hub for practical mission education for people of the Christian faith. Keen to maximize the impact of congregations, Haggray has also championed the development of pastoral and lay leadership within the denomination, which requires ABHMS to be nimble in response to God’s call to do justice.
Haggray’s vision of the role Christians should play in today’s world is centered on ending oppression in all its forms. “Spiritual empowerment and engagement moves Christians to name and confront the social ills that oppress people while advocating and working on behalf of their liberation,” he wrote in a 2017 article published in The Christian Citizen magazine.
A Savannah, Georgia, native, Haggray is an ordained American Baptist minister. Before joining ABHMS, he served as senior minister of the First Baptist Church of the City of Washington, D.C. for more than three years. Prior to that call, he was regional executive minister for the District of Columbia Baptist Convention for eight-plus years. Haggray has also served congregations in New Jersey and Georgia.
Haggray’s post-secondary education began at the University of Virginia, where he earned a bachelor’s degree. Master’s-level study at YDS followed. Haggray then went on to earn a Doctor of Ministry from Wesley Theological Seminary. He also holds an honorary Doctor of Divinity from Alderson Broadus College.
Earlier recipients of the Distinction in Congregational Ministry award include the Rev. Peter Marty, editor and publisher of The Christian Century, and Rt. Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop of the Episcopal Church.
American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists to promote Christian faith, cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and bring healing and transformation to communities across the United States and Puerto Rico.
American Baptist Churches USA is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with approximately 5,000 congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.