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Rev. Dr. Gayle C. Felton

Posted By Hall-Wynne On January 25, 2014 @ 12:00 am In Obituaries | No Comments

Reverend Doctor Gayle C. Felton, 71, preacher, teacher and theologian, died at her home in Rougemont on January 25, 2014. Gayle was a native of Pinetops, NC. She graduated with a B.A. in History from North Carolina Wesleyan College where she was the first valedictorian of the newly opened college. Gayle taught high school history and civics in Edgecombe County before answering the call to ministry.

She received her master’s of divinity and doctorate from Duke University. After teaching religion at Meredith College for two years, she returned to Duke where she taught in the divinity school for over a decade, guiding and influencing a generation of pastors and others serving the United Methodist Church. Gayle’s scholarship largely focused on the history of Methodism with special emphasis on the sacraments.

Among her published works are This Gift of Water, By Water and the Spirit, This Holy Mystery, United Methodists and the Sacraments, and The Coming of Jesus. She was also the editor of How United Methodists Study Scripture and the writer of numerous studies and other works used across the United Methodist Church. She was a frequent participant in United Methodist General Conferences and was appointed for many years to the General Board of Discipleship.

Gayle had a deep commitment to social justice, working to integrate the public schools in Edgecombe County and as a pioneer in building the Reconciling Movement, a group advocating for the full inclusion of LGBT persons in the United Methodist Church. She was honored to serve as the national board chair of the Reconciling Ministries Network. Gayle also was a role model for women seeking ordination in the United Methodist Church, working tirelessly to remove many of the obstacles she herself had to overcome in becoming an ordained elder.

Gayle is survived by her son, Reverend Alan Felton and wife, Joan, along with her grandchildren John Alan and Virginia Gayle of Apex, NC. Gayle loved the life she shared with Reverend Deborah Morgan and Deborah’s two children, Joanna and Morgan. Gayle is also survived by her brother, J. Phil Carlton of Pinetops and his family; and her former husband, Al Felton of Newport, NC. She was preceded in death by her daughter, Marilyn Lewis Felton and her parents, Lewis and Kittye Snow Carlton.

A service of death and resurrection will be held at 11:00 a.m. on Friday, January 31 at Apex UMC with Reverend Laurie Hayes Coffman officiating. The family will greet friends immediately before the service. Burial will be in the Pinetops Cemetery on Friday, January 31 at 3:30 p.m.

A service of remembrance will be held on Saturday, February 1 from 12:00-2:00 p.m. at Calvary UMC in Durham where Gayle served for many years.

Memorials may be made to Calvary UMC, 304 E. Trinity Ave., Durham, NC 27701; or to the Reconciling Ministries Network, 123 W. Madison St., Suite 2150, Chicago, IL 60602.

Arrangements for the Felton family are under the care of Hall-Wynne Funeral Service in Durham. On-line memorials: www.hallwynne.com. Select obituaries.


Condolences for the family of “Rev. Dr. Gayle C. Felton”

Condolence from Mr Henry Jarrett on January 30th, 2014 12:00 am

Gayle was a true champion of justice. Her voice will be sorely missed.

Condolence from Rev. LeDayne McLeese Polaski on January 27th, 2014 12:00 am

Gayle was a fine professor and a lovely person. She was challenging, demanding, insightful, and kind. I remember her with fondness and gratitude.

Condolence from Nancy Langley Raynor on January 27th, 2014 12:00 am

Please accept my condolences on the passing of Gayle. I have pleasant memories of our childhood in Pinetops and playing softball in her front yard. I recall seeing her only once after I left Pinetops at a conference. She was enthusiastic about her calling into the ministry. Know that the family is in my thought and prayers.

Condolence from Roger Dowdy on January 27th, 2014 12:00 am

Gayle was a mentor to me in my formative understanding and articulation of the Sacraments. Gayle was a supportive ministry colleague. While serving as Dir. of Ministry at Lake Junaluska Conference and Retreat Center, I will forever remember hosting Gayle as leader for a Sacraments Seminar 2009,and soaking in her sermon for the Summer Worship Series ending the Seminar, and assisting her at the Table for Communion. Gayle has left an indelible mark on the sacramental faith of the UMC. Thanks be to God for Gayle Felton. Rev. Roger Dowdy, UMC Deacon, Richmond, VA, CROSS-PATHS Ministries

Condolence from Daniel Jones on January 28th, 2014 12:00 am

Gayle was special and I am thankful for her ministry and what she has meant to many clergy. She was a wonderful, caring teacher and encourager.

Condolence from Barbara on January 28th, 2014 12:00 am

I had the privilege of hearing Dr. Felton speak at our church which was pastored by her son, Alan. She was superb. She had a caring and loving son in Alan, who not only is a wonderful person but an excellent speaker and pastor also. My heartfelt sympathy to all who loved Dr. Felton, and especially her son,Alan, his wife, Joan, and their 2 precious children, John Alan and Virginia Gayle. I know her absence in your lives is huge.

Condolence from Brett Webb-Mitchell on January 29th, 2014 12:00 am

Remembering, with great fondness and admiration, for the work that Gayle did, especially after leaving Duke Divinity School. Courage!

Condolence from Curmilus Dancy II Butch on January 30th, 2014 12:00 am

My condolences goes out to Alan Felton, Judge Phil Carlton and the entire family of the late Rev. Dr. Gayle C. Felton. I remember Rev. Dr. Felton when she taught at South Edgecombe and SouthWest Edgecombe High Schools. Although I didn’t have a class under her, I heard nothing but nice things about her.

Condolence from Maureen Oakes on January 31st, 2014 12:00 am

I met Gayle in 1985 when we were celebrating Methodism’s bicentennial. She was the resource person for biographical info on characters from Methodism being portrayed at the festival and I was one of the actors. Our friendship has lasted through the years and I am a richer person for having had Gayle in my life. Miss you and love you, Gayle!

Condolence from Maggie Lewis on January 31st, 2014 12:00 am

Alan and family I share my condolences. I heard most of the service thuough Ustream, beautiful. What wonderful memories we all have of Gayle.

Condolence from Para on February 1st, 2014 12:00 am

The Church has been blessed by Gayle’s witness and teaching. My favorite memory is of her teaching and preaching, inviting those present into the adventure of learning. I feel sad for the loss,of her physical presence and her readily available wisdom. And grateful for the opportunity to learn from her. Praying for those who love her, both near and far.

Condolence from Jeanne Allen on February 2nd, 2014 12:00 am

She was my professor at Duke Divinity and I treasured her classes and her passion for reconciling and anti-racist ministries. Special thoughts for her companion Deborah Morgan whom I fondly remember from her years at Mt. Sylvan UMC.

Condolence from Ann Turner on February 2nd, 2014 12:00 am

My condolences to Allen and all the family. My memories of “Ms Gayle” are from when I grew up in Pinetops and going to church with her. She not only taught my Sunday School class for a while, she taught me history at South Edgecombe also. She has always been a very special lady and will live in our memories forever!! She has truly touched so many lives! She has certainly left her mark on this world!! Blessings to you all!!

Condolence from Office of the Sheriff on February 3rd, 2014 12:00 am

To the family know that God is with you in the loss of your loved one. May you find peace in the thought that your loved one is in a better place. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” – Matthew 5:4 King James Version. With deepest sympathy. Edgecombe County Sheriff James L. Knight and Staff

Condolence from sally schauman on February 4th, 2014 12:00 am

I am sad beyond description. My love and sympathy to Deb and Allan, their loss is huge. Gayle was not a big hugger but I know God is hugging her now. We have lost a woman who can not be replaced. The UMC has lost a SAINT.

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