Rev. Grace Jones Moore

Pioneering woman of faith, human rights activist

The Reverend Grace Jones Moore, of Claremont, died at home on Tuesday, September 17, 2013. She was 86.

 A native Californian, Rev. Moore was born on October 14, 1926 in Santa Ana. After graduating from Orange Union High School, she attended the University of Redlands, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in pipe organ. She also earned a Master of Religious Education degree at Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. 

In 1951, she married the Rev. Richard O. Moore, Jr. in Placentia, beginning 40 years of joint ministry together. After her retirement, she returned to school at Immaculate Heart College Center in Los Angeles and earned a master’s degree in feminist spirituality.

Rev. Moore served as organist and choir director at each church where she and her husband served: the Congregational Church in Caanan, Connecticut; San Ysidro (mission project), California; San Diego Kensington Church; Barstow Congregational Church and the West Garden Grove Congregational Church, where she was ordained in 1973 by the United Church of Christ. Rev. Moore continued her joint ministry at the Faith Community Church in Garden Grove and served as co-minister and organist/choir director for 15 years at the Lakewood United Church of Christ, retiring in 1991.

Rev. Moore was a passionate advocate and activist who worked at the cutting edge to pioneer women’s equality in all facets of life. Her lifelong endeavors to eliminate society’s “isms,” whether it be sexism, classism, racism, etc., led to her energetic involvement in the United Church of Christ (UCC) at the local, association, conference and national levels as well as in the communities in which she lived. 

A born leader and organizer, Rev. Moore often served in major leadership roles for numerous organizations, including: the San Bernadino Association of the UCC; the UCC Southern California/Southern Nevada Conference Women’s Fellowship (where she was one of the original 12 members of the Women’s Task Force and also helped to form the Gay/Lesbian/Bisexual/Transexual Task Force); the Orange Association and Conference levels of the United Church of Christ and the West Orange County Ecumenical Community; the Southern California Religious Coalition for Abortion Rights; COMMIT (Center of Metropolitan Mission In-Service Training); and the Long Beach Area Council of Churches (South Coast Ecumenical Council—SCEC).

While at SCEC, Rev. Moore was part of the coalition that started the Long Beach Family Shelter; she helped to organize the Downtown and North Long Beach Farmer’s Markets as well as the Mid-Cities Help Center; and she was active in helping resettle refugee and homeless families. Rev. Moore organized WOW (Women Organizing Women) and was active with WATER (Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual). Rev. Moore was president of the International Association of Women Ministers (IAWM) for three terms. And she was active with FEAS2T (Feminist, Education, Action, Support, Spirituality and Theology). 

Ordained before the time when it was common for women to attend seminary, Rev. Moore served as a foremother for clergywomen to follow in her footsteps. She founded and facilitated (for 20 years) the Long Beach “Women-Church.” She helped teach a class at the Claremont School of Theology for women planning to be ordained. She often preached and lectured on the concerns and issues of women.

Rev. Moore was a zealous proponent for the use of inclusive language and was known as the expert on this topic. She wrote an inclusive Doxology and Gloria Patri. She re-wrote the entire Pilgrim Hymnal, authored inclusive language liturgy and helped to revise UCC Church School materials. Rev. Moore authored The Advent of Women (25 meditations for women), the Shalom Hymnal and All May Be One (guidelines for inclusive language). 

Besides her beloved husband of 62 years, the Reverend Richard Moore, Rev. Moore is survived by daughter Alice Clive and her husband David Clive, who reside in Vernon, Connecticut; daughter Sharon Bolle and her husband Jack Bolle, who reside in Brea; and son Paul Moore, who resides in Redwood City.  Rev. Moore will also be greatly missed by her three grandchildren, Bryan Fowler and twins Katherine Kolker and Kristen Fowler, and by Katherine’s husband Patrick Kolker.

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the staff of Pilgrim Place and VNA Hospice & Palliative Care of Southern California for their loving concern and care during Rev. Moore’s final days.

In lieu of flowers, Rev. Moore’s family has requested that memorial donations be made to the Resident Health Support Project at Pilgrim Place, 625 Mayflower Rd., Claremont, CA 91711.

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