Meet Shakeisha Holton Gray
Minister Shakeisha Holton Gray was raised on the sunny Gulf Coast of South Florida, but has lived in North Carolina for over 20 years, most of it in Salisbury, and deeply considers “the ‘bury” home. Minister Gray prefers she/her/hers pronouns and is a supportive and loving ally to our LGBTQIA+ siblings. She met her spouse Jason when she was in middle school and they have been together ever since. In high school the couple welcomed their first born son and shortly after married and moved to NC (and welcomed a second son) where Minister Gray was very active in the Salisbury community. After the birth of their third son, she went back to college full-time where she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Catawba College with a double major in Creative Writing and History.
During this time, Minister Gray was already an active member of PUUC and was working hard to help begin the Salisbury Gathering. A fellow member once stated that Shakeisha would make a great UU minister, which at the time she balked at. However, on a trip to Wales where she visited the parish of her favorite poet, Welsh Anglican Minister R.S. Thomas, she felt the first nudge into this “odd and wondrous calling.” Accepted on scholarship to attend Wake Forest University School of Divinity, she graduated in 2018 as the school’s first ever UU and Spiritual Humanist. While at the divinity school she traveled to Egypt on an interfaith pilgrimage and visited Jewish, Coptic Christian, and Islamic sites, and later to Scotland on a journey deep into Celtic Spirituality. It was during a visit to an ancient clootie well that Minister Gray really felt the pull of spiritual care.
Three days after graduating with her Master’s degree in Divinity in 2018, she was t-boned by someone who ran a red light. PUUC, the UU Fellowship of Winston-Salem, and the UU Ministers Association (she is a candidate minister with the UUA) provided her and her family with love and support during her time of healing.
Minister Gray is often an open book. She loves her spouse, her children (which includes Ginger, a lab-pit mix), heritage crafts like quilting, embroidery, and pottery, her extended family and framily, and all things spiritual which connect us deeply as humans. Minister Gray misses being able to hug folx and enjoy coffee time with them, mostly because she misses talking to everyone. Minister Gray uses her voice to advocate for patient rights, to encourage destigmatizing death and dying, to advocate for social justice causes, to support LGBTQIA+, Black, Indiginous, LatinX, and Women’s rights, and most importantly to support causes that help heal this planet we ALL call home.
While she is an extrovert, Minister Gray does like quiet time. She is a firm believer in naps and walks in the woods, often with Ginger by her side. Minister Gray has learned along the way to appreciate the vessel she inhabits with all of it’s beautiful scars, bolts, curves, and stories it has yet to tell. Minster Gray is deeply compassionate, stands up loudly for her beliefs, is always open to spiritual exploration, be it hers or others as she loves to learn and share in conversation, and greets the world with both arms open.