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Rev. Ray Bagnuolo is an openly gay Presbyterian minister. He currently serves as Chaplain and Minister Director for That All May Freely Serve, a mission of Downtown United Presbyterian Church and a specialized ministry in the Presbytery of Genesee Valley, both in Rochester, New York.
That All May Freely Serve is a national progressive movement within the Presbyterian Church (USA), whose mission calls Ray to travel the country, establishing a network for chaplaincy and advocacy for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ/Q) community in the church and beyond.
Ordained as an openly gay man in 2005, Ray was called as Interim Minister by Palisades Presbyterian Church in Palisades, NY, one of the first Presbyterian churches in the nation to call an openly gay pastor. A part-time position, Ray served the congregation through its transition while working full-time as a high school special education teacher in the Ossining Public Schools, in Ossining, NY.
Retiring from teaching in 2009 to serve full-time in ministry, Ray accepted a call to Stated Supply Pastor and Head of Staff at Jan Hus Presbyterian Church and Neighborhood House in New York City. “We began our day by receiving and redistributing mail for six hundred people who had no permanent address and went from there,” Ray states. This small congregation continues to serve a widely diverse community in the New York City area, providing outreach ministries to thousands of people living in homeless conditions.
Between 2005 and 2010, Ray completed his four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) at Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, New York. He has served as a chaplain in trauma one and regular hospital settings, crediting his work as chaplain and in CPE as “Awesome and life-changing.”
Ray earned his M. Div. at New York Theological Seminary in 2003 and also holds a Masters of Arts Teaching – Class of ‘90 from Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, where later taught as an Adjunct Professor in the Graduate School of Education. Early in his teaching career, he joined the Presbyterian Church, after “years in the desert,” he says. “I felt the welcoming and the justice and Love of God all at once. I knew I was where I belonged.”
Involved in the Progressive Movement in the PC(USA) as a result of the influence of South Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry, New York - Ray, has served on the boards of More Light Presbyterians and That All May Freely Serve, and was one of the early interns for Presbyterian Welcome in New York City.
Prior to teaching, Ray spent eighteen years in sales, marketing, and small business management positions. He states that, “All the skills of the last forty years, even the ones I was sure I would never use, have somehow come together in accepting the call to serve as a minister. Even my time as a volunteer and stage manager for The Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade have helped me ‘keep the music playing.’” This Thanksgiving will be Ray’s 24th year as volunteer in the longest running show on Broadway!
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