The Reverend Lois A. Poag-Ray, Ph.D., D.D., M. Div.
The Rev. Dr. Lois Ann Poag-Ray, Pastor of historic St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, DC, is the first woman to serve a major church in the Washington Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church.A former Pastor of Pilgrim A.M.E. Church, DC from 1993 to April 2008, Dr. Poag Ray also served for ten years as Executive Director of the Pilgrim A.M.E. Job Connection Program, a welfare-to-work initiative funded through a multi-million dollar contract with the District of Columbia.Formerly a Professor of Management at the University of the District of Columbia, Dr. Poag-Ray maintains adjunct graduate faculty status at CentralMichiganUniversity.
A native of Nashville, Tennessee, Dr. Poag-Ray holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Speech and Drama from TennesseeStateUniversity; and a Master of Science degree in Audiology and Speech Pathology from VanderbiltUniversity.After several years teaching experience at the college level, Dr. Poag-Ray moved to Washington, DC where she earned the Ph.D. degree in Communication Arts (Area of Specialization: Organizational Communication) from Howard University.After answering the “call to preach” in 1981, shelater earned the Master of Divinity degree from the Howard University School of Divinity.
Prior to moving to the District in 1979, Dr. Poag-Ray worked on the Pediatrics Staff at HubbardHospital-MeharryMedicalCollege.Embarking on her career in academe, she taught at KennedyKingCollege of the CityColleges of Chicago; ClarkCollege, Atlanta, GA; the Community College of Philadelphia; and the University of Maryland Extension Program, U.S. Naval Air Station, Bermuda.Additionally, Dr. Poag-Ray served as Assistant Professor of Business Communications at HowardUniversity’s School of Business and Public Management
The recipient of numerous honors and awards, Dr. Poag-Ray holds an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Sims School of Religion, Monrovia College, Liberia, West Africa.She is the author of several publications, including a book, Managing Conflict in Church Settings, published in 1995, and is featured in the 2004 Edition of Those Preaching Women.Dr. Poag-Ray has the distinction of being a church planter and church builder, having served as founding pastor of FirstA.M.E.Church in Gaithersburg, MD, where within that church’s first five years, she led the congregation in the purchasing of property and the building of a church facility.After having been used by God to build a church community numbering more than 450, she was appointed to the pastorate of PilgrimA.M.E.Church in the District of Columbia.
Dr. Poag-Ray served the ConnectionalA.M.E.Church as President ofA.M.E. Women in Ministry (2004-2008), and as Connectional First Vice-President (2000-2004) .She is the first woman to be appointed Dean of the Washington Conference Board of Examiners, Second Episcopal District, A.M.E.Church; and is a former President of the A.M.E. Ministerial Alliance of Washington, D.C. and Vicinity.She was a charter member of the Board of Visitors of the Howard University School of Divinity.Dr. Poag-Ray has distinguished herself as an innovative administrator, a compassionate leader, an inspiring teacher, a dynamic preacher, and a dedicated pastor who truly cares for God’s people.She is an unusually gifted woman of God who embraces as her mission in life the use of her God-given talents to win souls for Christ and build the kingdom of God here on earth.
Married to Frederick Chester Ray and the proud mother of Thomas Donnell P. Ray, Rev. Dr. Poag-Ray describes herself as a “…woman of God who stands firmly on Christ the solid Rock.”She continues to praise God for the blessing of having allowed her to be a part of “miracle stories”, and for continuing to use her to make a difference in the lives of people in her church and her community.Her foundational and guiding thought is that through Christ, all things are possible if you only believe; her favorite refrain is, “To God be the Glory!”