H. Gray Southern, District Superintendent
Gray Southern is a native of Smithfield, NC. After graduating Smithfield Selma High, he received his BA in psychology and religion from UNC-Chapel Hill, his Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, and a D.Min from Columbia Theological Seminary.
He has been deeply involved and committed with NCCUMC for over 36 years. His most recent appointment, Lead Pastor at the Apex UMC Campus. Gray’s hopes for the Capital District: Witness for the sake of the Kingdom and to increase and build upon the strong commitment and connection that we already feel.
He has been married to his wife, Susan, for over 33 yrs and they have 2 children : Mary Gray and Kirk.
Claire grew up in Sanford, NC in Pocket Presbyterian Church. Her professional background includes management in the swimming pool industry, upper level management in the direct sales industry and as Chief Operating Officer in a broadcasting and publishing company with duties including production of the Efird Bible Study series, Daily Prayer Life and NC Spin: a statewide TV and radio talkshow. She has been an active member at St. Francis UMC in Cary for over 24 years and has served on the leadership team for the NC Academy for Spiritual Formation since 2008. Claire was elected to serve as a delegate to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference for 2016-2019. Claire serves as a Certified Lay Speaker, a Spiritual Director after completion of a two-year formation program in the art and ministry of spiritual direction and a Conflict Transformation Minister after training with the Lombard Mennonite Peace Center and Just Peace. She is beginning the Two-Year Academy for Spiritual Formation in the fall of 2018. She enjoys serving on the Advisory Board for La Estrella Resplandeciente and as the Fundraising Chair on the Board of NC UM Camping and Retreat Ministries.
Claire has been married to husband David for over 30 years and they are the proud parents of three young adult children: Jacob, Kali and Jonathan. She enjoys cooking, boating, reading and spending time with family and friends.
Roxie Lee Floyd, District Co-Lay Leader
Roxie Lee Floyd entered into a relationship with Jesus Christ as a teenager and has been a lifelong United Methodist. Her commitment to serving and loving the people around her started at her mother’s and grandmother’s apron strings in South Carolina. “Both of these women had such deep abiding faith and love in Christ that it was hard not to want some of what they had.” She is the 6th child of her parent’s 12 children. Her oldest sister is a UM Minister in the Western Carolina Conference.
Since moving to Raleigh in the mid 80’s, Roxie has been a part of the congregation at Wilson Temple United Methodist where she has been an integral part of the church. She has lead the youth ministry, the Sunday school program and worked to make sure that vacation bible school left a lasting impression of Jesus’s love in the minds of the children who attend. She currently serves as the Chairperson of the Church Council. She has served as the Capital District UM Women’s president, vice president and E&I Coordinator and has served the UMW Ministry wherever needed.
Roxie loves to laugh and is very sure of Jesus’s love for her. Her life has been a testimony of God’s love for His people. She has a Bachelor of Science and a Master’s degree from Clemson University in Agricultural Economics. She manages a utility audit business in the southeast.
She currently lives in Raleigh with her husband Connie Floyd and son Daniel, a student at East Carolina University. She is an avid photographer and loves family history and wants Ice Cream to be declared a national treasure!
Mark Schneider, District Co-Lay Leader
Mark spent most of his childhood years in the hotter climes of Tampa, Florida. Although he attended Jesuit High School there, it wasn’t until he met his amazing wife, Ellen, of 31 years (and counting) that he was baptized and officially joined the United Methodist Church.
Mark graduated from Duke University in 1984 with a B.S. in Computer Science and did post-graduate work at NC State. He worked for five years as a software developer in State College, PA, where he met Ellen, before returning to North Carolina in 1989 to work for SAS in Cary.
Almost immediately, Ellen and Mark made First United Methodist Church Cary their spiritual home, where they have been practicing their faith ever since. Mark has served in various roles at FUMCC, most recently finishing a four-year term as Lay Leader. He loves to read scripture (publicly in service and privately anytime) and teaches the “Y-ME” adult Sunday School class.
Their two adult sons, Michael and Daniel, grew up in the church and are now living in Roanoke, VA and Morrisville, NC, respectively (and gainfully employed at that!). Mark cherishes time on the tennis court with both of them, whenever he gets the chance.
Marlee Ray, District C4C Coordinator
Dr. Marlee Ray is pleased to assume the role of Congregations 4 Children Coordinator for the Capital District. Marlee is a member of Saint Paul United Methodist Church in Goldsboro, NC where she currently serves as Missions Chair.
Dr. Ray graduated from Meredith College and received graduate degrees in education from NCSU and ECU. She has a Doctorate in Educational Leadership from ECU. Dr. Ray worked in public education for 34 years as a teacher, principal and central administration supervisor in Pitt, Wake and Wayne Counties. She retired as Director of Exceptional Children’s Programs for Wayne County in2007. She then started a second career as Executive Director of WAGES Community Action Agency. Through this agency the community was provided services through Head Start/ Early Head Start, Foster Grandparents, Senior Companions, Weatherization, Self-Sufficiency and Meals on Wheels.
Marlee is now fully retired and is enjoying being able to commit more time to church and community activities. She remains an advocate for the poor and disadvantaged and is a strong believer in local and global missions. She is excited to be a part of C4C at the local and district level and knows that through this program our churches can make a positive difference in the lives of children.