Bishop Beverly J. Shamana, a retired bishop of The United Methodist Church, died last week in California at age 81. Elected and consecrated to the Episcopacy in 2000 in the Western Jurisdiction, she was the second black woman elected as a bishop in the history of the UMC, following Bishop Leontine T. C. Kelly.
Council of Bishops President Bishop Cynthia Fierro Harvey described Bishop Shamana as a voice for justice and all that was right and true. “Women bishops stand on the strength of her shoulders. … She was one who offered her constant love and support to all the bishops but particularly the women bishops who had accepted the responsibility to lead,” said Bishop Harvey. “Her presence will be missed.”
Bishop Peggy Johnson remembers her as “an encouraging sister-bishop when I arrived on the scene in 2008. We were in the same bishop covenant group and we shared stories of our mutual ministry. Bishop Shamana was an accomplished musician and gifted the Council of Bishops many times with her joyful piano music. At a women bishop’s event one year she led us in a “Jazz Liturgy of Holy Communion” that we will not soon forget. We thank God for the life and ministry of Bishop Shamana.”