A video produced by the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church helps to explain how and why delegates elected Bishop Karen Oliveto as the first openly lesbian bishop of The United Methodist Church.
As the church’s highest court considers a challenge to her election, three delegates say that Bishop Karen Oliveto – someone with a deep faith, a love of the church, commitment to evangelism and experience as a pastor – was the most qualified of the nine candidates at last July’s Western Jurisdictional Conference.
Now bishop of the Denver-based Mountain Sky (regional) Area, Bishop Oliveto is the spiritual leader of 400 congregations in Colorado, Wyoming, Montana, Utah, and a small part of Idaho. was the most qualified of the nine candidates.
“Bishop Karen Oliveto is evangelical. She uses the language of the church. She talks about resurrection. She talks about sin. She talks about forgiveness. She talks about incarnation,” says the Rev. Kent Ingram, pastor of First United Methodist Church, Colorado Spring, Colo.
“I went to the jurisdictional conference hoping to elect the most qualified spiritual leader… It was obvious that she was the most qualified candidate to lead the church at this time and at this place,” offers Kunle Taiwo, a lay delegate from Aurora, Colo.
“I am so confident in my decision. I was at the time, and I have been since… She had a clear call to this ministry as bishop and she is doing the work, and from all I hear she is succeeding in that work. This is just what I would expect from anyone called to be a bishop,” says Emily Allen of Palo Alto, Calif., a lay delegate that served as the rules chair of the Western Jurisdiction.
The nine-member United Methodist Judicial Council will hear arguments in the challenge to Bishop Oliveto’s election on April 25, 2017 in Newark, N.J.