last leader of the Congregational Christian Church to be honored

Ray and Martha Phillips, of First Congregational UCC Albuquerque, will be traveling this week to South Africa, where Ray’s grandparents, Ray and Dora Phillips, are being given the silver award of the Order of the Baobab by the President of South Africa. The Order is the highest honor given to a civilian SA citizen. Ray and Dora were US citizens. They were nominated for a different award, but the committee decided that their contribution to the country was so significant that they should receive this one.

When the United Congregational Church Of Southern Africa learned that Ray and Martha would be there, they offered to “host” them and have scheduled a number of events, including a tour of the Mandela house and lunch on the street where both Mandela and Bishop Tutu lived.

Below are links to some of the information they’ve gathered about Ray and Dora’s work. What isn’t included is Ray’s work after they returned to the States, spending the remainder of their ministry in New England. Ray served as a pastor and was the last leader of the Congregational Christian Church before it merged with the E&R to become the UCC. He was then the co-moderator of the UCC’s Second Synod, at which the constitution was adopted.

Martha says, “Ray says he always wondered if there was anything left of their work after Apartheid. I guess there is. We met a young UCC missionary a few years ago who had been serving in SA. He described Ray’s grandfather as a ‘rockstar.’”  (“Amongst Umteteli Wabantu’s founder members were H. M Taberer who was part of the NRC and Ray Phillips who became disliked by African radicals for his efforts to influence African thinking and opinion.”)

And he’s a flash card!