The Circle of Elders
A Tribute to the Late Rev. Dr. Gayraud Stephen Wilmore, Jr.

On the occasion of the entrance into the church triumphant of our dear brother in Christ and in the struggle for justice and equality, The Circle of Elders join a host of others from across the church and around the world in celebrating an extraordinary servant of the God of all creation, Rev. Dr. Gayraud S. Wilmore, Jr.

Dr. Wilmore was gifted with ninety eight years of life and he lived each year to the fullest. He loved God and sought to be a faithful and obedient servant.  He loved his family, his wife of seventy years and their four children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.  He loved his people (African Americans) and gave himself to the cause of their liberation and freedom.

Dr. Wilmore loved the church of Jesus the Christ universal and the Presbyterian Church, USA, and served it with energy, intelligence and imagination.  As a pastor, he led his flock into community engagement and outreach. Some of his service to the church consists of being:  the first Executive Director of the Commission on Religion and Race; a pioneer member of Black Presbyterian United, now National Black Presbyterian Caucus, and The Circle of Elders.

He loved his country and served it as a Buffalo soldier in the Second World War. His love for country was demonstrated by his many efforts to challenge the country to live up to its creeds of justice and equality and to address her racism.

Gifted with a brilliant mind, Dr. Wilmore embraced his calling to be a scholar, teacher, professor, theologian, mentor, and author with a passion rarely seen in one individual. Many former students, colleagues, and friends have made their mark on life because of his influence. Others have been influenced by his writings and books including some of the following:

  • The Sacred Relevance of the Church
  • Black Presbyterians: The Heritage and the Hope
  • Last Things First
  • Black Religion and Black Radicalism
  • Pragmatic Spirituality: The Christian Faith through an Afrocentric Len

Dr. Wilmore’s life and faithful witness is legendary and no tribute by any mortal person can adequately capture the essence of his life and service to humanity.  This incredible life will forever give testimony to itself.

All praises, glory and honor be unto God, creator, redeemer, and sustainer for the gift of our brother, Dr. Gayraud S. Wilmore, Jr.

Well done faithful servant.

Rev. Dr. James A. Thomas, Sr.
Moderator, Circle of Elders