by Sara Harwell, Disciples of Christ Historical Society
On October 30, 2013, to commemorate the first anniversary of the passing of the Rev. Dr. Raymond E. Brown (“Ray” to those who knew and loved him), Disciples of Christ Historical Society will post the oral history interview conducted with him at his home in Fishers, Indiana on September 1, 2009. Part 1 of the interview can be viewed at http://youtu.be/N1jWc4c7E_E and Part 2 at http://youtu.be/KaCDHypSkxA.
Brown held a variety of positions at the general church level including serving as the first Vice Moderator of the Christian Church. During his four year presidency at National Christian Missionary Convention he became instrumental in merging the predominantly African American organization with the General Convention to promote greater unity. He thus became the first president of the National Convocation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).
During his time at the Disciples Board of Church Extension he eventually earned the title of senior vice president, the first African American to hold the position. Much of his work at Board of Church Extension was devoted to a program that dispersed the Board’s investment portfolio among minority banks across the country.
After his retirement Brown served as interim president of Church Finance Council, Division of Homeland Ministries and various interim positions at National Convocation, Faith United Church, Center for Education and Mission and Division of Homeland Ministries. He also served as chairman of the board of Disciples of Christ Historical Society.
In the interview Brown spoke of his childhood and early ministry as well as his work with the general church. Especially powerful are his memories of racial tensions and conflict and his work to promote racial reconciliation within the church and society.