McClain, William "Bobby"

November 18, 2020

It is with deep sadness that we share the news that the Rev. Dr. William "Bobby" McClain, a retired elder in the New England Conference, has died. He was 82.

Active in the Civil Rights Movement and a colleague of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Rev. McClain served Union United Methodist Church in Boston from 1968-77; he also served as the church’s interim pastor in 2018.

Dr. McClain was serving at the Board of Global Ministries in 1978 when he became the Executive Director of the Northeastern Jurisdiction’s Multi-Ethnic Center for Ministry, a post he held until 1980. He was an Associate Professor at Wesley Theological Seminary from 1981 to 2007; he retired from ministry in 2008. Find a biography here

In May 2016, we recorded video interviews Dr. McClain about his experiences serving churches in the segregated South and his work in the Civil Rights Movement.

In September 1963, Dr. McClain was the first African American to get a library card from the public library in Anniston, Alabama, effectively integrating the library. Dr. McClain also shared stories of meeting and working with Dr. King. Find the interviews

May we hold his wife, Jo Ann, and their entire family in our prayers. Memorial details will be shared as they become available.

Condolences can be sent to the family at 500 Round Table Drive,
Fort Washington, MD 20744 or