Filmmaker taps Bishop Shamana for feature on IRD

March 22, 2007

When the Rev. Steven D. Martin called the Episcopal offices in West Sacramento several months ago he asked to meet with Bishop Beverly Shamana, and he asked to bring a video camera. What followed was an opportunity for the Bishop to be part of a documentary film whose provocative topic is expected to draw the attention of many throughout the United Methodist Connection.

Martin, a clergy and filmmaker from Tennessee, is taking on an organization of dissident conservatives arrayed against American Protestant churches: the Washington, DC-based Institute on Religion and Democracy, known as the IRD.

For the film, "Renewal or Ruin? The Institute on Religion and Democracy's Attack on The United Methodist Church," Martin called on several recognized United Methodists including Bishop Shamana and Retired Bishop Kenneth Carder, now professor of the practice of pastoral formation at Duke University Divinity School in Durham, NC.

Responding to why she chose to join in the "Renewal or Ruin" project, Bishop Shamana has stated, "I respect the goals and integrity of the filmmaker, Steve Martin. The real story of the IRD needs to be told. Up until now they have told their own story in a way that preys upon churches which put their faith in an organization that begins with 'United Methodist.' The IRD is misusing the name 'United Methodist,' a name that we trust.”


For an in depth look at Martin’s efforts go to  on the UMNeXus website. NeXus, is an independent weekly news publication for United Methodists. It is produced by the Boston Wesleyan Association, publishers of Zion's Herald, the award-winning bi-monthly ecumenical forum for people of faith. UM NeXus Editor Cynthia B. Astle is an associate editor of Zion’s Herald.