Mark Grafenreed

Graduate Student in Religion and Culture




Mark C. Grafenreed is a doctoral student in the field of Religion and Culture. He seeks to explore the intersections between critical race theory and religion, White evangelical Christianity, and Methodism and the evolving role of the universal Church in society. As a native of Memphis, Tennessee, Mark’s introduction to Texas was by way of SMU, which will be his third rodeo on “The Hilltop,” (B.A. in History in 1998 and M.Div. (summa cum laude) in 2018). Between stints at SMU, Mark moved to Houston in 2000 to attend Texas Southern University’s Thurgood Marshall School of Law, where he finished magna cum laude and was licensed as a Texas attorney in 2003. Mark worked at several private civil law boutiques before launching his own practice, The Grafenreed Law Firm, PLLC, from 2010-2020.

Mark is an ordained as an Elder in Full Connection with the Texas Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church and served as Associate Pastor and Director of Congregational Care and Men’s Ministry at Windsor Village United Methodist Church in Houston, Texas, prior to joining the GPRS. Mark is in involved with several community organizations, including the Houston Area Women’s Center, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., the United Negro College Fund, Houston Branch NAACP, American Leadership Forum (Class LIV), 100 Black Men of Metropolitan Houston, Inc., Fathers’ Auxiliary Chair, Missouri City-Sugar Land Chapter of Jack and Jill of America, Inc., and Texas Annual Conference Boards of Church and Society and Ordained Ministry. Mark is married to his wife of 15 years, Dr. Clynita J. Grafenreed, and they have two sons, Jackson and Justin.

Course Advisor: Dr. Ted A. Campbell


“The Breadwinner,” The Perkins Student Journal, a publication of Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University, 15 (Fall 2016): 51-63.

“. . . the differences between God’s Children . . .,” Heritage Journal, a publication of the Texas United Methodist Historical Society, vol. 13 (2017): 69-96.

“Mingled Without Compromise,” Heritage Journal, a publication of the Texas United Methodist Historical Society, vol. 14 (2018): 21-40.

“Seeing Spiritual Care Through Legal Lenses,” In On Significant Components in Spiritual Care, (book publication date forthcoming).


“ . . . the differences between God’s Children . . .,” The South Central Jurisdiction Convocation of Archivists and Historians, Texas United Methodist Historical Society Annual Meeting, Lubbock, Texas, October 6, 2016.

“Mingled Without Compromise,” Texas United Methodist Historical Society Annual Meeting, Richardson, Texas, April 29, 2017.

Fellowships and Awards: 
The Walter N. Vernon Student Essay Award (2016 and 2017)
The Albert C. Outler Award in Theology (2017)
The Charley T. and Jesse James Bible Award (2018)
The Dr. and Mrs. Glenn Flinn Senior Award (2018)
SMU University Fellowship (2021-2026)