Tributes to Bishop May

February 27, 2017

Bishop Felton Edwin May, who served the Baltimore-Washington Conference from 1996 to 2004, died on Monday, Feb. 27.

Bishop LaTrelle Easterling, resident bishop of the Baltimore-Washington Conference, said, “It is with deep regret that I have learned that Bishop Felton Edwin May, a giant of The United Methodist Church and a faithful servant of God, has joined the Church Triumphant. I urge us all to actively keep his family and all those who loved him in our prayers.”

You can read Bishop May’s full obituary here.

Bishop May meant so much to so many. We invite you to leave your remembrances, thoughts and prayers, below, to share with the BWC family.


Sandy Ferguson Feb 27, 2017 4:53pm

Bishop May was a man of Holy Boldness. He loved the people Jesus loved. He loved Phyllis and his family. When he retired, he refused the rocking chair the Jurisdiction offered him. Instead, he continued to work tirelessly for justice. He was one of a kind.

Kelly Grimes Feb 27, 2017 5:12pm

Bishop May always gave sound wisdom to me. The conversations we had to Black Methodist for Church Renewal conferences kept me as I moved through the years. Always kind and helpful. I will miss him greatly. Rest well, Bishop May.

Cynthia Belt Feb 27, 2017 5:15pm

I was so excited that Bishop May would be laying hands on me for ordination. He was willing to try new avenues of ministry to reach persons for Jesus Christ. I will miss him, he was a gift to the church.

Michael Parker II Feb 27, 2017 5:17pm

I was honored to read the psalter at his Welcome Service in 1996 in Baltimore. I was 11 years old!! I remember thinking he was one of the tallest men in the world. Today, at 32 years old, I still think that he's one of the tallest men in the world!! He leaves an amazing legacy that reaches beyond the sky! For his life, I give God thanks!!

Martha Knight Feb 27, 2017 5:49pm

A great man of great service to God and the Church. Through him many knew God more deeply. Thanks be to God for his life and work.

Joan Carter-Rimbach Feb 27, 2017 6:09pm

Bishop May baptized our daughter, Heather sixteen years ago at the National Cathedral during an ordination service; what a gift that was. May you rest in perfect peace.

Jeff Paulson Feb 27, 2017 6:30pm

Bishop May loved Jesus deeper than anyone I have ever encountered and shared that love unconditionally with every person. His passion was an inspiration that was able to bridge many generations of clergy and lay leaders in the church! God Bless!

Ciona Rouse Feb 27, 2017 6:33pm

When I was a fellow in communications at the BWC, Bishop & Mrs. May welcomed me fully into the conference. He inspired me with his direct and bold conversations, his radical love in community and his fierce and faithful leadership. There's a heft in my chest as he's welcomed into the beyond today. Well done. All my best to Mrs. May.

Chris Owens Feb 27, 2017 11:53pm

Bishop May commissioned and ordained me into ministry and left an indelible impact on my life to be both holy and bold with living and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ. After ordination, we were given a Bible, and I asked Bishop May to sign it, and he did while quoting Galatians 2:20. To be crucified with Christ so that he can fully live in me... Thanks to Bishop May, that has been my goal.

Dave Highfield Feb 28, 2017 8:01am

Bishop May encouraged and challenged our congregation when he visited and then facilitated a contribution from the conference to a local organization promoting racial equality. He also supported long term pastoral appointments, enabling me to serve Westminster UMC for 15 years.

Patricia Sebring Feb 28, 2017 8:07am

Always remember his zeal whenever the song "Rescue the Perishing" is played or sung. I am certain he has heard the words from our Lord, "well done good and faithful servant."

Patricia Johnson Feb 28, 2017 11:30am

Bishop May - Holy and bold. I am honored to have had this Bishop to affirm my ministry to the last,the least and the lost as he walked the streets with me in Mount winans, Westport, and Cherry Hill. He was instrumental in setting up a safe house for addicts seeking treatment and he visited frequently, those who were diagnosed with HIV-AIDS. Thank you God for this giant of a man. Rest well Bishop. I will continue to smile as I remember our many conversations. Feb 28, 2017 11:50am

When I met you I was just a 'boy'.
I can still remember vividly
the firmness of your handshake,
the boldness of your voice,
the confidence of your gaze,
the warmth and inspiration
that beemed from your eyes,
the love betrayed by your smile,
Serious, firm, sure yet warm & loving,
As in your bold clear voice
I still remember your assurance
"Good to see you"
"This is a great mission,
It is a God ordained mission,
(Africa University)
You will enjoy it & be fullfilled by it."
Many years on, a boy no more
I nor only remember, I testify too,
It has grown, inspired and fullfilled me
Just like you said Bishop.
You were like few others
You cared by your heart,
And lived our your cares by service
Right till the end.
Rest Well & In Eternal Peace Bishop.

Ken McDonald Feb 28, 2017 12:16pm

Bishop May was a wise Episcopal leader. His passion for those in need was evident in his Holy Boldness ministry. He had a love for Jesus and a special place in his heart for the least, the lost and the last. His concern for justice was admirable. He was, indeed, a blessing to many. Thanks be to God for this bold servant of the Lord.

Miguel Balderas Feb 28, 2017 1:23pm

Bisho May baptized my daughter and my son! also commissioned me in ministry! I will miss Bishop May! En paz descanse y su recuerdo permanezca en nosotros!

Ms. Braxton Feb 28, 2017 2:16pm

I extend heartfelt sympathy to the family of Bishop Felton E. May. Thank you for sharing this gifted individual with the world. May comfort, peace, love and strength embrace you today and in the days to come...

Josefa Bethea Wall Mar 1, 2017 8:14am

Bishop May provided us a blueprint for the bold work of the Church. May we hold fast to the wisdom he shared. Keeping Mrs. May and the May family lifted in prayer.

Bernard H 2/24/17 Mar 1, 2017 2:12pm

Bishop May truly stood tall as a man of God and as a leader of people. I was blessed by his presence

Loretta Johnson Mar 2, 2017 10:29pm

I will always treasure my journey under Bishop May's leadership - who freely shared his passion and Holy Boldness for making disciples for Jesus Christ!

Linda L.Carter Mar 3, 2017 4:25pm

I wish to convey my heartfelt sympathy to his wife and family. May he rest in peace.

Barbara Hutchinson Mar 3, 2017 4:45pm

Bishop May energized each member of the BWC. Under his leadership, the United Methodist Lawyers Guild sponsored summer intern programs. I was pleased to particpate in that program. Bishop May was a shining beacon of our faith. Bishop May is enjoying his well deserved reward. My sympathies and prayers to the May family.

Ray McDonald Mar 3, 2017 4:47pm

Bishop Felton May was a man of God who sought His face regularly. His call for us to walk out our faith in "Holy Boldness" sticks with me still today. May he rest in peace and I'm praying for his wife - Phyllis.

Don & Anne Stewart Mar 3, 2017 5:50pm

Bishop May knew Jesus in a special and intimate way! His beliefs empowered him to work for justice and to build up the body of Christ. He was both holy and bold and we shall miss him. We shall pray for him and his family until we see him on a not too distant shore.

Larry Neumark Mar 3, 2017 9:04pm

My heart sank when I heard the news of Bishop May's passing. His death is a loss to humanity. In 1998 he was invited to speak at the Economic Justice Forum in Cumberland, MD (an effort by United Campus Ministry and others) and this larger-than-life leader delivered a passionate address which challenged the status quo and highlighted "the least of these." His bold, prophetic voice may be stilled, but it will always be remembered with gratitude.

Frances Keene Mar 3, 2017 10:39pm

I first met Bishop May the first year he came to us.
His theme for the conference was Holy Boldness, and was that a conference??!!?? Yes! It taught how to walk in Holy Boldness of my faith a lot more than I was doing.
I feel confident that his soul has returned to God, and his Spirit is basking in the light of the Father, Son and the Holy Spirit.
To Mrs. Felton and family God bless and keep you in His Care . Thank you for loaning the Bishop for a season.

Dr. Deborah Haskins Mar 4, 2017 1:59am

I remember the day Bishop May and Mrs. May arrived to the Baltimore- Washington Conference. My dear husband Rev. Dr. Bruce Haskins was so excited! Here was a leader committed to social justice--Holy Boldness! Bruce felt supported as a pastoral leader. We will never forgot how Bishop May supported Bruce when he became ill in 2000. Thanks to your prayerful support, ministry continued and grew. Thank you Bishop May for all your support and for you and Mrs. May supportive model also for pastors and spouses. I know Bruce welcomed Bishop May into Heaven and they are singing and shouting!! We will always remember your passionate preaching, teaching, and leadership. Love the Haskins Family

Perry Collins Mar 6, 2017 11:51am

I pay tribute to this giant on my birthday. I recall on our journey to South Africa we had a layover in London, England. I decided that before the plane departed I would run and get the famous "fish & chips" everyone was buzzing about. I under estimated the time it would take to get there and back so I was literally less than a minute arriving back at the terminal before they would close the doors. As I'm running through the terminal I see Bishop May standing in the center of the isle, a full head above everyone, arms folded and looking very stern. I quickly said "I'm so sorry, I thought I had time. Thanks for waiting for me." He quickly shot back to me "Oh, we weren't waiting. This plane was going to leave on-time." I knew he was concerned and I knew he was re-leaved. From that time forward I was one of the first in line wherever we were going. He called us "his choir" and to have him and Rev. Dr. Bruce Haskins pushing us to "Holy Boldness" I witnessed QCUMC rising to new heights. Praise God for Bishop May. He was humble and God's love shown all around him wherever he went. We feel a huge void but Heaven is smiling.

Joyce Dow Harris Mar 6, 2017 7:20pm

Bishop May came to the D.C. area and met with our Pastor, Rev. E.W. Stevenson, Sr. discussing the issue of drugs,alcohol, violence and murder and the need for Saving Stations in neighborhoods where there were so many lives lost (over 400+) and bound and in need of salvation, deliverance and rehabilitation. He looked to Rev. Stevenson for guidance and assistance in launching the Initiative on Drugs and Violence. Working as one of his coordinator's of the Bishop's Initiative on Drugs and Violence, A.P. Shaw UMC and other Saving Station churches joined together in this fight, "taking it to the streets" with revivals, seminars, workshops,panel discussions and meetings even with politicians. Working with our General Boards/Agencies, Pan-Methodist brothers and sisters, as well as other denominations around this issue gave me an opportunity to view firsthand Bishop May's calling, passion and mission as God's servant. I will forever be grateful for his leadership then and during his term as Bishop in the Baltimore Washington Conference.

Jerald Mckie Mar 10, 2017 3:51pm

Having worked with Bishop May on the initial substance abuse work of the UMC while a staffperson of the General Board of Church & Society and the General Board of Global Ministries , it became clear that his determination and sheer force of personality would see it become the Special Program on Substance Abuse and Related Violence. A global program that spread to 25 countries and services individuals to this day. Well
Done Good and Faithful Servant.

Eliezer Valentin-Castanon Mar 15, 2017 7:09pm

Dear Bishop May, you will be sorely missed. I met you during a very challenging time in my life and ministry at the General Board of Church and Society; you were always such a wonderful pastor. I guess I came to like you as my pastor during a visit to your office when you were as willing to give, as good as you were to take. I loved your tender heart (some times hard but always loving), your tenacious spirit, your arrogance in the midst of attacks, your tenderness when people needed a shoulder to cry. Please know that when I grow-up I wish I can be half the pastor you were, half the preacher you were, half the theologian you were, half the prophet you were, and yes, half as arrogant as you were; just half because this way there will always be only ONE Bishop May. I loved you brother, and am joyful that you are finally in the presence of our God. I will miss you, but I promise you never to stop struggling for what is right, just, and humane. You showed me one can be a good Christian and a Bishop, who would have thought of that! My prayers go to your family, and all your brothers and sisters here in the BWC who loved you, and are touched by your departure. Well done good and faithful servant, enter the rest of your Lord.