Dear Beloved Members of The United Methodist Church in the West,
Grace and peace to you in the name of Jesus Christ.
Today, a jurisdictional trial concluded that involved our colleague, Bishop Minerva Carcaño, as respondent. Under the oversight of presiding officer Bishop Alfred Gwinn, the trial resulted in a dismissal of all four charges against Bishop Carcaño as the jury found her actions to be within the bounds of her episcopal authority.
Although the judicial process is complete, we recognize that pain and anguish are present in this moment. We especially extend our care to those who gave voice to their convictions with courage through the complaint process and the trial. We don’t minimize the hurt we all carry, and at the same time, we begin the work of healing. No verdict – innocent or guilty – will do the hard work of restoring and building the necessary trust for healthy relationships. This will require diligence, mercy, reconciliation, and restoration by all parties.
With the trial now over, the Western Jurisdiction’s College of Bishops will welcome Bishop Carcaño back into our shared collaborative work. As we build new and restore old relationships, we will walk alongside her as fellow servant leaders, even as we continue to hold each other accountable in love.
We are thankful for all who contributed their time and gifts to this trial, ensuring a fair hearing of the facts and the faithful deliberations of the jury. The court’s officers, presiding officer Bishop Gwinn and secretary Rev. R. Preston Price, capably facilitated while coordinating details for the relocated trial with leadership in the North Central Jurisdiction and our building host, Wespath.
We also give thanks for the leaders within the Western Jurisdiction who navigated this complaint process with diligence and care, balancing the requirements of The Discipline with a desire to do no harm. In particular, we offer our gratitude to Rev. Janet Forbes and Richard Marsh, who dutifully represented the Church as counsel in this trial.
As your College of Bishops, we remain committed to guiding our jurisdiction through this season with integrity, compassion, and a listening spirit. We invite you to join us in prayer, seeking God’s wisdom and grace as we navigate the path ahead.
Grace y Paz,
Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank
President, Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops
Resident Bishop of the Los Angeles Area
Bishop Carlo A. Rapanut
Secretary, Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops
Resident Bishop of the Phoenix Area