Bishop May, ʽholy boldness’ advocate, dies at 81

Bishop May memorial service April 1 in Washington DC

The Memorial Service for Bishop Felton Edwin May will be at on Saturday, April 1, at 11AM, at Asbury United Methodist Church, 926 11th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001. The family hour before the service, with members of the Council of Bishops, will be at 9:30 AM. The Washington Area Episcopal Office is working to secure a block of rooms of a hotel in the immediate area of the church. Contact  Ms. Joyce King at

Read UMNS’ obituary by by Sam Hodges: Bishop May, ʽholy boldness’ advocate, dies at 81

We regret to announce that retired United Methodist Bishop Felton Edwin May passed away peacefully Monday, Feb., 27, 2017. The May family asks for prayers to uplift them during this time. Condolences can be sent to them at 3315 Oak West Drive, Apt 123, Ellicott City, Maryland 21043.

“Bishop May was both holy and bold in his words and actions,” said Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson, about her former bishop. “He challenged me to be a pastor (of Christ UMC of the Deaf in Baltimore); and he took Deaf ministry to a new place internationally and state-side. The church will long benefit from the Spirit-driven ministry and passion of this fearless man of God.”

Born and raised in Chicago, Bishop May became a creative, dynamic pastor, district superintendent and conference council on ministries director in the Peninsula-Delaware Conference, which later named its Dover, Del., headquarters in his honor. As a bishop, he led the Central PA (now Susquehanna) and Baltimore-Washington conferences, and served in many other important roles in mission and ministry.

Bishop May’s surviving wife, Phyllis E. May, was his lifetime partner in ministry. Calls and e-mail messages may be directed to their daughter, Ms. Daphne May Brown. Her phone number is 501-554-3148. Her e-mail address is

Bishop May’s burial will be conducted at the convenience of the family. A service of public worship and celebration of Bishop May’s life and ministry will be announced on a later date. In lieu of flowers please send memorial gifts to the following:

Project H.O.P.E., Feeding Hungry Children
Theressa Hoover, United Methodist Women (UMW)
c/o Dr. Etta Carter, 6403 Shirley Drive, Little Rock, Arkansas 72204


Africa University Development Fund
Post Office Box 340007, Nashville, TN 37203
(Phone: 615-340-7438)