Former Head of the United Negro College Fund Retires From the Ministry

William H. Gray III, the former congressional leader who left Washington to take over the reins of the United Negro College Fund, has retired as pastor of the Bright Hope Baptist Church in North Philadelphia.

Gray, now 65 years old, has been pastor of the church for the past 35 years. He took over the position from his father. During his tenure the congregation doubled in size to more than 3,000. Over his time as pastor, the church served more than one million meals to the homeless of Philadelphia.

Gray was elected to the House of Representatives in 1978 and served as chair of the powerful House Budget Committee and as majority whip, the third ranking position in the House Democratic leadership.

Gray left the House in 1991 saying that he could accomplish more outside of government. As head of the United Negro College Fund, he raised more than $2.5 billion for black higher education.