Dr. Cain-Felder-Obituary

Photo courtesy of Christian Benevolent Funeral Home, Inc.

Dr. Cain Hope Felder

Mobile, Alabama

Jun 9, 1943 – Oct 1, 2019 (Age 76)


June 9, 1943
October 1, 2019


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Christian Benevolent Funeral Home, Inc. Obituary

The Rev. Dr. Cain Hope Felder passed at his home in Mobile, AL on Tuesday October 1, 2019, with his wife Jewell at his bedside.

He is preceded in death by his mother Lula Mae Landy Felder, his father Robbie B. Felder, and six siblings: Clayton, Patience (Brown), Alvin, Calvin, Abel, and Seth.

He is survived by his wife, Dr. Jewell Richardson Felder of Mobile, AL and one daughter Akidah H. Felder M.A. of Bethesda, MD., one brother Robbie J. (Ruth) of Salley, S.C. and one sister Mary (Philip) Harvey of Moorestown, N.J.

Born in Aiken, S.C., he moved with his family to Boston, MA three months later. He graduated from the elite Boston Latin Public High School. He was very devoted to his mother whom he credits with making it possible for him to succeed despite the many obstacles that he and his family confronted.

He committed his life at an early age to Christ joining the Methodist Affiliated Church of All Nations in Boston. He participated in and directed many church activities for children, worked as a counselor, and eventually assistant director of the Morgan Memorial Fresh Air Camps in South Athol, Massachusetts. He was a famous story-teller who delighted campers and counselors alike. Needless to say, these activities shaped his life’s work as a speaker, minister, and inspiring professor of Divinity. His influence was widely felt and continues in the work of his former students and many friends.

Dr. Felder was an American biblical scholar, serving as professor of New Testament language and literature and editor of The Journal of Religious Thought at the Howard University School of Divinity. He also served as chair of the Doctor of Philosophy program and immediate past chair of the Doctor of Ministry program. He was a member of Howard's faculty from 1981 until his retirement in 2016.

Prior to coming to Howard, he taught within the Department of Biblical Studies (1978–1981) at Princeton Theological Seminary. From 1969 to 1972, Dr. Felder worked as the first executive director of Black Methodists for Church Renewal (BMCR), the black caucus of the United Methodist Church, which was headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia. Originally ordained as an elder in the United Methodist Church, he served as pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in New York City (1975–1977). Until his death, Dr. Felder served as an elder in the Second Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, where he was appointed by Bishop Adam Jefferson Richardson as the district’s resident biblical scholar. From 1998 to 2001, Dr. Felder served as chair of the implementation panel for the National Center for African American Heritage & Culture at Howard University.

His publications include True to Our Native Land (2007); Troubling Biblical Waters: Race, Class, and Family, originally published in 1989 and now in its 16th printing; and The Original African Heritage Study Bible (1993).

Dr. Felder held Doctor of Philosophy and Master of Philosophy degrees in biblical language and literature from Columbia University in New York; a Master of Divinity degree from Union Theological Seminary in New York; a Diploma of Theology from Mansfield College at the University of Oxford in England; a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy, Greek, and Latin from Howard University in Washington, DC. At Howard he also joined the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity where he established lifelong friendships with his fraternity brothers.

After retiring to Mobile, Alabama he was affiliated with Toulminville-Warren Street United Methodist Church. In addition to his wife Dr. Jewell Felder, and daughter Akidah H. Felder M.A., he leaves to mourn numerous relatives, friends, colleagues, and students, who have all benefitted from his presence in their lives.

Mobile, Alabama Arrangements: 

     Visitation Thursday October 10, 2019, 4:00pm to 7:00pm Toulminville-Warren Street United Methodist Church, 2271 St.      Stephens Rd., Mobile, AL 36617.

Washington, DC Arrangements: 

      Family Visitation Saturday October 19, 2019, 9:30am to 11:00am Cramton Auditorium, Howard University 2455 Sixth St., Washington, DC 20059.

     Funeral Service Saturday October 19, 2019, 11:00am Cramton Auditorium, Howard University 2455 Sixth St., Washington, DC 20059.

     Interment Saturday October 19, 2019, Fort Lincoln Cemetery, Brentwood, Maryland

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I first met Cain as a student at Howard when he was a dorm counselor and became more familiar with him after pledging Beta Chapter of APhiA in 1967. My wife and I had the privilege of joining him on a trip to Egypt in 2001. It was a highlight experience especially as Dr. Felder and Dr. Molefi Asante schooled us on the contributions of Africa to religious life and thought as we sailed on the Nile. We are saddened by his death but continue to carry his legacy in our minds and our hearts. Our...

Thank you for your leadership and inspiration. God Bless you and your family.

Please accept my condolences on the passing of your husband. It was an honor to have known such a great person. Prayers and fond memories are what we have to remember our dearly departed. My most heartfelt condolences to you Dr. Jewell Rose.

Thank You , for your Leadership...

I am sending my deepest condolences to Mrs. Felder and family, friends of the family, associates and all former colleagues, and all those individuals who loved and respected Rev. Dr Felder!
I pray that God will keep each of us wrapped in his comforting arms and give us strength during this difficult time!
Rest In Everlasting Peace my dear friend! You are home, resting in the arms of God!
I pray we will meet again in heaven! Roberta McLeod Reeves

Dr Felder was one of the greatest theologians in America. He was very kind and care about his students. He could make you laugh and cry while teaching. I had the privilege to travel with him and assist in his engagements. I learn New Testament in and outside of the class room. Dr Felder was more than a gentleman, I will always thank God for his gifts,
grace's and talents. God bless his daughter , wife, family whom he adore.
Gone Too Soon
Love Always
Dr Charlene Monk

My condolences to the family.

I will always be grateful to God for Dr Felder and how God used him to bless me while I was in seminary; and afterwards for my family. Beyond the classroom, Dr Felder provided me with opportunities and wisdom that I will cherish. Praying for his family, his wife, and especially his daughter Akidah. May the Holy Spirit continue to bless you all with peace, comfort and consolation. In Jesus name. Amen.

Dr. Cain Felder was a graceful presence when we were students at Union Theological Seminary. His work on the black presence in the Bible guided much of my study and preaching. May God comfort his wife, daughter, family and friends. I am thankful that I got to know Cain many years ago and pray that he will be remembered by the many people he touched in the years ahead. Thanks be to God for Dr. Felder.