From the Worldwide Faith News archives

United Methodist Bishop Joel McDavid dies at 86

From "NewsDesk" <NewsDesk@UMCOM.ORG>
Date Thu, 9 Jan 2003 15:12:51 -0600

Jan. 9, 2003  News media contact: Tim Tanton7(615)742-54707Nashville, Tenn. 

NOTE: A photograph of Bishop Joel McDavid is available.

A UMNS Report
By Alice M. Smith*
United Methodist Bishop Joel D. McDavid, who led church regions in Florida
and Georgia before retiring in 1984, died Jan. 8 from a massive stroke. He
was 86.

"I just loved him dearly," said South Georgia Bishop Mike Watson. "He was
such a wonderful friend."

McDavid had been serving as bishop in residence at Dauphin Way United
Methodist Church in Mobile, Ala. He was standing at the kitchen sink with
Milah, his wife of 60 years, when he suffered the stroke the evening of Jan.
7. He later died at a local hospital. Just the day before, he had given the
devotional at Dauphin Way's staff meeting.

Elected bishop in 1972, McDavid was appointed to the Florida Area, where he
served eight years. In 1980, he was assigned to the Atlanta Area, which he
led for four years. The Atlanta Area, later divided into two episcopal areas,
covered the entire state of Georgia.

Following his retirement from the episcopacy in 1984, McDavid served first as
bishop in residence at United Methodist-related Candler School of Theology in
Atlanta for eight years before becoming bishop in residence at Dauphin Way at
the invitation of Watson, who was then the church's senior pastor. Both men
were elected to the episcopacy from Dauphin Way, Watson becoming bishop in
2000. McDavid's nephew, the Rev. Neil McDavid, is Dauphin Way's current
The bishop's wife and their three children - Ben McDavid of Montgomery, Ala.,
Joel G. McDavid of Panama City, Fla., and Karen Ann Beville of Mobile - were
at his side when he died, as was his nephew. Other survivors include six
grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

McDavid was instrumental in helping establish the Frank Sherman scholarships
at Candler School of Theology, which Watson said was "one of the most
significant things that's happened at Emory (University) for student
financial aid." He also was a force in starting the Simpsonwood Retreat and
Conference Center near Atlanta, said the Rev. Herchel Sheets, a retired
pastor in the North Georgia Conference.

A native of Georgetown, Ala., McDavid graduated from United Methodist-related
Millsaps College in Jackson, Miss., and Candler School of Theology. He did
graduate study at Boston University School of Theology and received at least
four honorary doctorates during his career.

He was ordained a deacon in 1944 and an elder in 1946. As a pastor, he led
churches in the Alabama-West Florida Annual Conference before being elected
bishop. He also held numerous other church, civic and academic leadership
posts. He was a member of the churchwide Council on Ministries, Board of
Discipleship and the predecessor agencies to the Board of Global Ministries
and Board of Higher Education and Ministry.
Funeral services will be Jan. 10 at Dauphin Way United Methodist Church.
# # #
*Smith is editor of the Wesleyan Christian Advocate, the United Methodist
newspaper in Georgia.

United Methodist News Service
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