William H. "Bill" Moss served on the board of directors of Presbyterians for Lesbian and Gay Concerns (later More Light Presbyterians) for eight consecutive years, concluding with a two-year term as co-moderator from 2002-2004. As a board member, Bill’s ability to dream big, plan carefully, and serve steadfastly laid the groundwork for MLP’s growth and ultimate success in changing hearts and minds in the Presbyterian Church USA.
Before joining the national PLGC board in 1996, Bill had been active for years in his local chapter, PLGC-DC, including serving as its co-moderator and organizing a Biblical self-defense workshop held at Westminster Presbyterian Church in conjunction with the March on Washington in 1993.
In 1995, Bill contributed one of the original stoles in the Shower of Stoles Project that were on display when Martha Juillerat set aside her ordination before Heartland Presbytery. His stole read “Gay man by birth, God's child by grace, Presbyterian by choice, Ordained by God's call.”
As a national PLGC board member, Bill played an instrumental role in the complex task of merging PLGC with the More Light Churches Network to create More Light Presbyterians. He brought to this task both an eye for administrative detail and the gift of intuitive, strategic planning for the organization’s future leadership. Bill shaped the plans to create the position of MLP Field Organizer, and as development chair, he headed up the effort to take the newly formed organization’s fundraising efforts to the next level with planned giving and other initiatives.
He also arranged for his spouse, graphic designer Chris Wiley, to create the MLP logo and brochure that gave the new organization a cohesive identity from the start. The logo was used by MLP from 1999 to 2012.
Bill was a member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Washington, D.C., the first welcoming and affirming More Light church in D.C., and Seventh Avenue Presbyterian Church, a welcoming and affirming More Light church in San Francisco, California. He was ordained and installed as an openly gay Elder. He gave freely of his time, money, and talents to local More Light churches and chapters, as well as the national movement, and for these gifts MLP is truly grateful.
Bill and Chris were persistent seekers of marriage equality. Having already held a commitment ceremony before same-sex marriage was legalized, they married when San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom issued licenses to same-sex couples in 2004, only to see that marriage nullified in a court decision months later. They married again after a California Supreme Court decision legalized same-sex marriage in June 2008, before Proposition 8 ended same-sex marriage in the state later that year, although this time the marriages remain legally recognized at the state level.
Together Bill and Chris provided a loving home for three Boston terriers: Violet, who preceded Bill in death, and Lily and Olive, who survive him. Bill died away July 7, 2012, after a battle with lymphoma, having been weakened by previous illness. His ashes were placed at the Columbarium in San Francisco.
(This biographical statement edited from an obituary written by Donna Riley for More Light Presbyterians.)
Biography Date: January, 2014
Presbyterian Church (USA) | More Light Presbyterians (formerly Presbyterians for LGBT Concerns) | PFLAG (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) | Shower of Stoles Project | Activist (religious institutions)
“Bill Moss | Profile”, LGBTQ Religious Archives Network, accessed May 07, 2021, https://lgbtqreligiousarchives.org/profiles/bill-moss.
“Bill Moss was my friend since practically my first visit to Westminster Presbyterian Church in Washington, DC. I was privleged to serve with him on the board of More Light Presbyterians and to have him lay hands on me when I was ordained as a governing elder at Westminster. Bill was a steadfast leader in the church and for LGBTQ equality but that is no surprise to those of us who knew him. He was a career government employee and part of the IRS’ Senior Executive Service (SES) ranks. Some have said that SES staff are for the civil service what flag officers (Generals, Admirals) are to the military. They are just below cabinet officials and put plans into action. Bill was definitely a man who at work and in his personal life put plans into action to make life better for everyone. He had a strong moral core that propelled him and all of us with him in the direction of justice. I am grateful to have known him.
– as remembered by Marco Grimaldo on July 24, 2015
Know Bill Moss? Tell us your experience.
(All entries are reviewed by the LGBT-RAN office before posting.)