Union for Black Episcopalians honors Terry, Humphries for their work

Saturday, October 29, 2016, was a big day in the Diocese of Michigan. In East Lansing, the University of Michigan and Michigan State University took the gridiron in their annual grudge match, while 90 miles southeast in Detroit, the Mayson Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians honored women for their feats on the gridiron of life.

Both events kicked off at noon. All prayed for god’s grace.


UBE surely felt it as it honored five African-Americans who have made a difference in the Diocese of Michigan. Unique to the awards was who presented the awardees.

“People can read what’s printed in the program,” said Juanita Woods, Mayson chapter president. “We wanted the presentation to be personal and engaging for the audience.”

To that end, the honored received their awards from those close to them. The presenters included a daughter, a son, two close friends and a granddaughter.

The Mayson Chapter annually presents the Absalom Jones award. Absalom Jones was the first African-American priest in the Episcopal Church, ordained in 1804. The 2016 award winner was Peggy Jean Terry of Grace Episcopal, Detroit.

The Living Legend award went to Mary Jane Humphries of St. Cyprian’s , Detroit. Coincidentally, Mrs. Humphries has five sons who played Big Ten football, three for Michigan.

The UBE luncheon also featured a celebration of clergy wives. Though the Episcopal Church has ordained women since 1974, and past immediate Presiding Bishop was a woman, Katharine Jefferts Schori, the UBE chose to single out traditional spouses, the wives who support their husbands in service to the church.

Karlah A. Gibbs, wife of Bishop Gibbs, Edith Morisseau, widow of the Rev. Dumont Morisseau, and Clara Rich, widow of the Venerable Archie Rich were recognized.

The Detroit UBE Chapter is named for H. Irving Mayson, the first African-American Suffragan Bishop of the Diocese from 1976-92. The luncheon honors his legacy. His widow, Mrs. Alma Mayson, co-chairs the memorial luncheon.

UBE’s luncheon continued with musical selections from two Detroit church choirs, Grace Episcopal and St. Cyprian’s. When the willowy gospel hymn, Order My Steps, floated through Barth Hall, Bishop Gibbs rose, hands up in praise, leading the whole assembly. In much the same way, Spartan Stadium rocked with cheers. Michigan won, 32-23.

  • Dedria Humprhies is a member of All Saints Church, East Lansing.