Ray W. Chamberlain, Jr.

Bishop Ray W. Chamberlain, Jr.


United States

Southeastern Jurisdiction


Bishop Ray W. Chamberlain, Jr. is a retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church serving from 1996-2004.

He was born in Pomona, California, moved with his missionary parents to Jamaica when he was eight years old. He graduated with B.A. and Th.B. degrees from United Wesleyan College in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and from Duke University Divinity School, Durham, North Carolina, with the M.Div. degree (magna cum laude) and studied a year at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. He received D.D. degrees from Shenandoah University and Liberia Methodist University.

Prior to his election to the episcopacy in 1996 by the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference, he served with the Salvation Army in a Trenton, New Jersey, ghetto, as a missionary/ministerial school principal in Zambia, Africa, as associate pastor or pastor of rural and city churches as well as a 3400-member congregation in the Virginia Conference in a bedroom community of Washington, DC. His last appointment before election was as District Superintendent of the 30,000+ Richmond District of the Virginia Conference. He has provided conference and jurisdictional leadership, especially in the areas of global missions, evangelism, and education.

Following eight years as bishop of the Holston Conference, he currently serves as special assistant to the president at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, DC, and as Bishop-in-Residence at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia.

Ray and Martha have three children, Russell, Marcia and Sharon, a foster daughter, Pam, and six grandchildren.