The Shaws Takes Over at Bethel AME in San Francisco


Saying the lord works in mysterious ways is in understatement to Rev. Robert Shaw.

Just a few months ago, he was telling some congregants at Bethel AME church in Kansas City that he expected to be at Bethel a long time. However, following the Fifth District AME Church conference, he learned he was going to be reassigned to Bethel AME in San Francisco.

“I was shocked, surprised and grateful at the same time,” said Rev. Shaw. “I wanted to be at Bethel for a long time, but it didn’t happen. I am now in San Francisco, and Bethel is a great and historic church. My wife and I just want to do our part and lead this church.”

It is no secret that the San Francisco church is going through transition.

Pastor J Edgar Boyd, a beloved figure at the church and ion San Francisco’s Black community, led the church for 20 before he was reassigned to First AME church in Los Angeles.

Pastor Phillip Cousins was assigned to the church in 2013, pastoring for two years. Pastor Tyrone Hicks moved to the church in 2015, serving until his retirement in 2017.

Now Shaw, 43, hopes to implement new directions under his leadership.

Born and raised in Kansas City, Missouri, he was called to preach at the age of 16 and was ordained a minister in the AME church at 18. He attended Prairie View A&M University in Prairie View, Texas, where he obtained a degree marketing.

He later received his master’s degree in divinity at Turner Theological Seminary in Atlanta.

While in Atlanta, he met his wife, Rev. Ann Champion Shaw, who graduated from Clark with a degree in English.

The daughter of the late Rev. Dr. George Champion, and a fifth-generation preacher, she received a master’s degree in divinity from Emory University.

Rev. Ann Shaw has worked as a chaplain at Baptist Lutheran Medical Center and alongside her husband as an assistant pastor. The Shaws have two young children, Raven 12 and Robert 9.

Rev. Robert Shaw pastored Reedy Chapel in Springfield, Missouri and Brooks Chapel in Butler, Missouri. He also served at Allen Chapel AME church in Kansas City, Missouri and Kings Highway AME church in St. Louis, Missouri before moving back to Kansas City to pastor Bethel AME.

Looking ahead, Shaw wants to build upon the Bethel AME’s housing ministry in San Francisco. He also wants to be proactive to situations that arise in the church and in the surrounding community.

“We want to meet the needs of people and to build up the enrollment of young people,” he continued. “We need to build a stronger youth movement in our church.”

Bethel AME, located at 916 Laguna St., holds services every Sunday from 10 am. to 11:45a.m. Bible study is held every Wednesday.


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