It is with deep sadness that I inform you of the death of our beloved sister, Rev. Jane Elizabeth (Egeberg) Schlager. She died on April 7, 2021 after a short but serious illness. A pioneer among women clergy, Jane came into ordained ministry in the previous two-tier system – Ordained a Deacon and placed in the probationary status on the Elder track in 1976 and then Ordained an Elder and received into Full Connection in the California-Nevada Conference in 1980.
As a clergy member of the California-Nevada Annual Conference, Jane served faithfully in appointments in California beginning as the Youth Coordinator for the Sacramento District, then serving as associate pastor at Pioneer UMC in Auburn, followed by appointments in which she co-pastored with her husband Rev. P. David Schlager at Tulare and Hayward First UMCs. She was then appointed to serve as senior pastor of the people of Good Shepherd UMC in Richmond and then Pinole UMC. She served as the Golden Gate District Superintendent. Her last appointment was to shepherd God’s people at Almaden Hills UMC in San Jose.
Through the witness of the many who were blessed by Jane’s ministry, colleagueship, and friendship, she is remembered as one blessed by a unique constellation of attributes, including immense resilience and strength, as well as an authentic vulnerability that invited people to experience and practice grace. It is said that she could swear like a sailor and pray like a saint, sing like an angel, and preach like a true believer in the gospel.
During her ministry, she served in many connectional leadership positions as well, especially in the empowering and training of young and new clergy. She was an amazing mentor and friend, and many among us claim the fortunate privilege of calling her “Momma Jane” because of the ways she nurtured and encouraged them. Knowing her it is no surprise that she loved her time in the Academy of Spiritual Formation.
Jane had a passionate love for the San Francisco Giants, good coffee, rascally dogs, choral music, and her grandchildren (not necessarily in that order). She was politically active and had a mild addiction to Rachel Maddow on MSNBC. She survived cancer three separate times, only to be given an all-clear medical report last October. Last month, however, after several weeks of feeling ill, pancreatic cancer which had spread across her abdomen was discovered. Loving comfort care was given to her by her devoted husband, sons and their families, her extended circle of close friends, and hospice attendants. She died at home under hospice care just two weeks after her diagnosis, surrounded by her loving family and hundreds of cards from people whose lives she had transformed, sending prayers, love, and support.
Jane celebrated her 70th birthday on March 18th. She is survived by her husband of 45 years, the Rev. P. David Schlager, two sons Matthew and spouse Megan, and John and spouse Laura Cagle, and three gorgeous granddaughters under the age of 5, Remy, June, and Emery (the videos of whom dancing, singing, and cavorting, you could hardly avoid if she caught you), and her sister, Mary DeVore of Kansas City. Condolences may be sent to Dave at 2800 Notre Dame Drive, Sacramento, California 95826.
A memorial service is being planned for May 15th at The Table at Central UMC in Sacramento, CA. Limited in-person capacity is expected, but it will be live-streamed. More information will be shared as soon as we receive it.
Let us continue to give God thanks for Jane’s life and witness and hold her family close in prayer. In our living and in our dying, we belong to God! (Romans 14:8)
Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
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