Brother May was a Winston-Salem native who had worked a number of years at Western Electric Company before being called to the Ministry. Graduating from Moravian College in 1960 and Seminary in 1963, he received his Master of Theology Degree at Duke University and also attended the Princeton Center for Continuing Education. Ordained a Deacon in 1963, he was pastor of Bethesda congregation 1963-65, Park Road (Charlotte) 1965-1969 and Trinity from 1969-1978 when he was called to Calvary. While at Trinity he was made a Presbyter. Energetic, warm, sociable, it was said that he never met a stranger. Active in the Salvation Army, Boy Scouts, Civitan Club, he was also Chaplain of the United States Air Force Auxiliary. In 1974 he was elected to the Provincial Elders Conference. Somehow he also found time to be Secretary of the Moravian Home, Inc. and to be a Trustee of Salem Academy and College. He flies his own airplane and plays in the band (as a boy he earned the money to buy his trumpet by carrying newspapers).
Reverend May was married to the former Bobbie Jean Brown and the couple had four children: Harrison, John, Mary Elizabeth and Peter.
Three months after his arrival at Calvary, Reverend Carol Foltz became our Assistant Pastor, the first ordained woman in our history to serve Calvary.
1979 saw Brother May elected Chairman of the Central Board of Elders of Salem congregation. In this capacity he presided over the Easter Sunrise Service, the first Pastor of our congregation to do so since Bishop Edward Rondthaler. What had happened was that the rules for the service had been changed: Formerly the pastor of Salem congregation had presided, but with the death of Bishop J.K. Pfohl, this office became defunct. This was also the year that the location of the service itself was changed. Before, the portion of the service held in God’s Acre had been under a grove of oak trees on the eastern margin of the old section, but with expansion of the graveyard to the east and onto the slope opposite Salem Academy, it was felt a location between the old and new sections, symbolically reuniting them, was preferable. (Unfortunately, the new location is at the lowest point of the total graveyard area and turns to mud if it has rained.)
In 1979, too, Janet Blum Seippel was awarded a citation from the Military Order of the Stars and Bars of the Sons of the Confederacy. For years she had been indefatigable in her leadership of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. And on December 1 Calvary had a “Country Fair” enjoyed by the entire congregation.
By 1980 Brother May could note in his Annual Report to the PEC that Calvary had undergone a revitalization of faith and that our membership was in the best shape of the past 12 years. With a communicant membership of 774 the earlier gradual decline had been reversed. That year, too, under May’s leadership, the congregation began an outreach effort into the Holly Avenue area, with members of the congregation as well as the pastor calling on those lying within earshot of our bell. That fall Bishop James C. Hughes led a series of renewal services. His theme was “God’s chosen people.”
1981 saw a number of deaths in our congregation and a decline in total membership to 763—something that caused Brother May to suggest half jokingly that there were “too many gray heads” in the congregation and to urge a redoubling of our efforts to attract more young people.
On August 16 the congregation was stunned when Brother May announced that he had received and accepted a call to New Philadelphia. His had been a happy pastorate for us all. That fall the congregation was elated to learn that Bishop James C. Hughes, currently serving as pastor in the Northern Province at Lititz, Pennsylvania, had accepted a call to serve Calvary. He was installed on December 13, 1981. Brother Jack Barnes had served as interim pastor after Reverend May’s departure and was unanimously elected our first “Pastor Emeritus” when Bishop Hughes arrived.