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McMURRAY, William "Grant"

MCMURRAY, STUART, SMITH, VEAZEY

Posted By: Sharon R Becker (email)
Date: 1/23/2016 at 15:25:03

BIOGRAPHY of W. GRANT McMURRAY
Graceland University, Lamoni, Decatur County, Iowa

William "Grant" McMurray was born on July 12, 1947 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the son of William, a church appointee, and Noreen McMurray. After his parents divorced, Grant moved to Independence, Missouri, with his mother and sister Donna. His mother was employed at the church headquarters of the RLDS Church.

Grant graduated from William Chrisman High School, Independence, in 1965.

Grant was ordained as the sixth president/prophet of the RLDS Church on April 15, 1996, becoming the first leader of Graceland's sponsoring institution not to be a member of the church's founding Smith family. He was also the first RLDS Church president who was trained at a seminary. He was designated as President Wallace B. Smith's successor in a pastoral letter written by Smith to the church on September 19, 1995.

Grant enrolled as a Graceland freshman in 1965 and held responsibilities as news editor of the Graceland Tower, Closson House chaplain, and assistant to campus ministor, J. C. Stuart. He graduted with a B.A. in religion and a minor in English from Graceland in 1969 and completed his master of divinity degree from St. Paul School of Theology, a Methodist siminary in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1975.

Grant entered church employment in 1971, working in such roles as RLDS historical research assistant and church archivist. He then became the church's assistant commissioner of history during 1976 to 1982, then served as World Church secretary and executive assistant to the First Presidency from 1982 to 1992.

Grant was ordained a member of the Quorum of the First Presidency in 1992, working as a counselor to RLDS president Wallace B. Smith until assuming the role of church leader. In addition to his official church duties, Grant has been president of the John Witmer Historical Association. Early into his presidency, Grant stressed an emphasis on building the foundation of church work through the people in individual congregations. "I want us to move from understanding ourselves as a people with a prophet, to understanding oursevles as a prophetic people," he told a Graceland audience in October of 1996.

In 2001 the church changed its name to Community of Christ.

Grant presided over the first ordination of a woman to the office of Apostle in the Council of Twelve. He called the first three women apostles (Linda L. Booth and Gale E. Mengle in 1998 and Mary Jack Dynes in 2002) ans well as the first woman to the Presiding Bishopric (Stassie Cramm in 2002). Grant also called the first African to the Council of Twelve, Bunda W. Chibwe from Zambia, in 2000. Also, under Grant's leadership, the Church finally established a theological seminary - the Community of Christ Seminary located on Graceland's Independence Campus, less than a mile from Church headquarters (approved in 2000).

Grant resigned as President of the church on November 29, 2004. Stephen M. Veazey succeeded Grant on June 3, 2005.

SOURCES:

Goehner, David. “The Graceland College Book of Knowledge: From A To Z.” Pp. 426-27. Herald House. Independence MO. 1997.

Russell, William D. "Grant McMurray and the Succession Cirsis in the Community of Christ."

Transcription by Sharon R. Becker, January of 2016


 

Decatur Biographies maintained by Sharon R. Becker.
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