Mourning Bishop Martin McLee, ‘champion’ for marginalized people

It is with heart-felt sympathy that Bishop Peggy A. Johnson announces the passing of Bishop Martin D. McLee, the resident bishop of the New York Area of The United Methodist Church.  McLee died Saturday, September 6, 2014, after a long illness.

We now have confirmation that the funeral celebrating the life and resurrection of Bishop Martin McLee will be held at The Riverside Church, 490 Riverside Drive, New York, at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, September 15th. Visitation will precede the funeral from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

“This is a sad day for all of us who knew and worked with Bishop McLee as well as the members of the New York Area.  We are, however, resurrection people who have hope in the promise of eternal life, even as we grieve the loss of this colleague and friend. Please take time during your services this week to lift up Bishop McLee’s family and the New York Area.”

Bishop McLee was elected bishop on July 19, 2012, during the 2012 NEJ Conference. He was assigned to the New York Area, effective September 1, 2012.  Before his election to the episcopacy, he served as the Superintendent of the Metro Boston Hope District of the New England Conference of The United Methodist Church.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, he answered the call to ministry at St. Luke “Community” UMC in Dallas, Texas.  He served as a pastor in the New England Conference and received the prestigious Ziegler Award for Preaching Excellence,

McLee had served as adjunct professor of social work at Simmons College and at Brandeis University.  He was committed to activism and frequently lectured on issues concerning HIV/AIDS and the faith community, race relations and social justice. He served as a Juvenile Justice Advocate and public school educator prior to entering the ministry.

Bishop McLee earned his Master of Divinity degree from Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas; the Juris Doctor degree from Thurgood Marshall School of Law at Texas Southern University, Houston; the Master of Science degree in Education from Fordham University; and the Bachelor of Science degree in Health (with honors) from Hunter College, both in New York City.

McLee also served as president of the Northeastern Jurisdiction’s Multi-Ethnic Center for Ministry; vice-president of the Strengthening the Black Church for the Twenty-First Century Initiative; and a board member of Drew University, New York Theological Seminary and the New York Methodist Hospital.

Bishop McLee’s family has requested privacy as they care for the arrangements.  As soon as any arrangements are made public, the information will be published.