Photo credit: UMNews.org
Let us remember with thanksgiving the life and ministry of Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell, 86, who passed away on Friday, September 4, 2020 in New Brunswick, NJ, in hospice care. To quote UM News, “Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell called himself a ‘foot soldier’ in the US civil rights movement. But many across his beloved United Methodist Church remember him as a general for justice.”
A full obituary by Heather Hahn is published in the UMNews.
Many in the New York Conference were connected with Rev. Caldwell’s work in the areas of civil rights and LGBTQI issues. Rev. Caldwell was the featured speaker at the MIND dinner at the 2008 New York Annual Conference. In posts after his death, both clergy and laity members of NYAC referred to him as someone special: “a consummate bridge builder and crusader for justice” (Rev. Dr. George McClain); and “A church statesman and lifetime advocate is exhorting us from the other side now. I stood when I heard the news of his passing. I was honored to know him and work with him.” (Ann Craig).
As was also stated in the UMNews obituary, Rev. Caldwell’s death follows the deaths of other giants in the work of civil rights: Rev Joseph Lowery, Rev. C.T. Vivian and Rep. John Lewis.
Rev. Caldwell is survived by his wife, Grace; his sons, Dale and Paul; and his granddaughter, Ashley.
A virtual funeral service will be held at 1:00 pm on Saturday, September 12, 2020 and can be watched here. The service will begin with a 30 minute prelude of videos and music. Speakers will include his family, Bishop Woodie White, Rev. William “Bobby” McClain, Rev. Traci West and Rev. Don Messer.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Rev. Gil Caldwell’s memory to the Dale Caldwell Foundation,1501 Ocean Ave, Asbury Park, NJ 07712.