Former PSR Trustee and Faculty Member Passes

July 11, 2012

Former PSR trustee and faculty member Leontine Kelly died, at 92 years of age, on June 28.  Bishop Kelly was the second woman and the first African-American woman bishop in the United Methodist Church, and she served as Bishop in this area from 1984 to 1988.  Following her retirement, she was Visiting Professor of Evangelism and Witness at PSR, and she taught homiletics as well. 

The funeral for Bishop Kelly (her “homegoing celebration”) was held at Jones United Methodist Church in San Francisco on Thursday, July 5.  Kathi McShane attended on behalf of the school.  She reported back that it was a hopeful celebration of deep faith and  inspiration, attended by 17 bishops of the United Methodist Church. 

Bishop Kelly was a candidate for Episcopal election out of the Southeastern Jurisdiction of the U.S. (Florida) in 1984.  Because of her race and gender, her candidacy was not taken seriously; but on the day she was defeated, clergy in the Western Jurisdiction called Leontine on the phone and told her to get on a plane immediately for California.  She did—funded by small contributions of her supporters in Florida—and she was elected immediately. 

PSR is honored by its association with this great contemporary symbol of Christian faithfulness and work for justice.  We share the world’s loss for her passing, and our gratitude for her life and witness.

Riess W. Potterveld
President, Pacific School of Religion