Dottie Escobedo-Frank

Ethnic Background: Latina/Multi-Ethnic

Conference: Desert Southwest

Probationary Date: 07/01/1996

Full Membership Date: 07/01/2000

Number of Eligible Quadrenniums: 2

1979 BA, double major in Sociology & Theology, ORU
1987 Master of Social Work, Arizona State University
1997 Master of Divinity, Claremont School of Theology
2012 Doctor of Ministry, Semiotics & Future Studies, George Fox Evangelical Seminary

Ministry Experience:
1997 Liberty UMC, Buckeye,, AZ (small rural church)
1998 Mission Bell UMC, Glendale, AZ (small suburban church)
2002 Community Church of Joy, ELCA, Glendale, AZ (Associate Pastor, Lutheran mega church)
2005 Cross Roads UMC, Phoenix, AZ (medium, city church)
2014 South District Superintendent, Tucson, AZ (Dean of Cabinet for 1 year)
2017 Catalina UMC, Tucson, AZ, Senior Pastor (large city church)
2021 Paradise Valley UMC, Paradise Valley UMC, Senior Pastor (large suburban church)

Community and Ecumenical Involvement:
Unhoused Community Worship & Breakfast – 200 persons weekly
The Inn, helped start housing for asylees moving from detention to family
Ongoing work with Immigration and people crossing borders
Domestic Violence Conference Speaker
Ethics Committee, St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center
Hacienda de los Niños Hospital, Board Member
Speaker for US at Global Partners Forum – Faith Action for Children on the Move, Rome, Italy

Other Relevant Experience:
Social Worker for fifteen years
(Twice) DSC Hispanic Ministries Chair
Board of Trustees member, Claremont School of Theology
Past Board Chair, The Inn, Housing & Hospitality for Asylees
National and International Speaker, including:
School of Congregational Development & Igniting Worship Conferences
Detroit Annual Conference, and North Alabama Annual Conference
Nordic and Baltic Annual Conference, Denmark

Author, all published by Abingdon Press:
Christmas & Advent, 2005
Sermon Seeds: 40 Creative Sermon Starters, 2005
Jesus Insurgency, Church Revolution from the Edge, with Rudy Rasmus, 2011
ReStart Your Church, 2012
Our Common Sins, 2013
Give It Up!, a Lenten Study for Adults, 2014
The Sacred Secular, How God is Using the World to Shape the Church, with Rob Rynders,

Why are you being called to the episcopacy at this time? What is it that you especially bring to the role of bishop with the current challenges facing our denomination and the Western Jurisdiction right now?
The Western Jurisdiction is in a sacred liminal space, and this crucial moment will create the trajectory of our future. I feel called to stand in the middle of this moment, and to lend gifts of vision, voice, and innovation to help shape the church for our present-future.

In my experience of transitional times, the challenge is to block the systemic forces of oppression so doors might open wide for new ways of being. Bishops will be leading in a system that is pliable and formative; and will need to know the importance of holding on and releasing. My leadership thrives amid transitional times, and can bring healing, health, and strength of purpose to the church. Spiritual connection, visioning, and strategic thinking form my leadership. Character traits of compassion, listening, and teamwork are central in my life. Moving with experience, bringing systems to embrace needed growth, seeking communal wisdom and engagement, are the steps needed to live into our hoped-for reality. I like the change process. I love moving on to perfection, even when that “perfect way of being” is a speck of a dream.

Some need changes include:
Centering our structure around local churches and ministries, while the organization
becomes the supportive bones for mission.

Synergizing with laity, knowing their gifts can bring newness and strength.

Providing pastoral support, celebrating ministry, and encouraging healthy churches.

Create streams of justice for persons who are LGBTQIA, BIPOC, and others who struggle.

Adapt forward as the church lives post-covid, and post-separation.

We need bishops who see the gifts around them, and sets the gifted free to lead. Bishops who know both the limitations and the expansiveness of their role, will be spiritual leaders who live into the sacredness of our connectional, Wesleyan system, loving God, neighbor, and the world.

Describe how the last two years have affected your ministry.
It was a “setting down” moment that we weren’t aware was happening. One day we were doing ministry as usual, and the next we began “setting down” all that was normal, regular, and ritual. Society deemed religious gatherings as “nonessential” and safety of the beloved became a central focus.

Covid changed everything. We noticed the earth healing itself without overuse of travel. We became quiet, and then active. We became local, and then global. We watched the world fall apart around us, and we were moved to action when racism led to death, hateful words spoken by the halls of power spread fear, and when immigrations and LGBTQIA advocacy stalled. The UMC was in the throes of division, yet we couldn’t talk to each other. And we waited to meet until the world healed.

This shift caused us to reconsider the ministry context. Stewardship of property is reimagined, while adaptations of hybrid gatherings have become the norm. A deeply felt need for the depth of connection with God, with each other, and with God’s world became clear. The Church became broader, deeper, and rolled out into our communities.

The church focus has changed. Practices of inclusion, contextualization, connectionism, and decolonization are rising. We are meeting with each other across boundaries, thanks to new technologies. And, we are doing the work to care for the earth.

As hard as this time was, some good came. It set us free to be new. It broke us of the habits that held us back. It provided an acceptance and a space to slow down, live out our faith in new ways, and to be nimble in our ability to change or pivot. We became creative, adaptive, and focused in our ministries. I am hopeful that we never forget what we learned.

Endorser: Rev. Dr. Kristin Stoneking

Relationship to Candidate: UMC Elder, Clergy Colleague

During the 2016 jurisdictional conference, I met Rev. Dr. Dottie Escobedo-Frank and was moved by her vision for the Western Jurisdiction. I learned of her depth of experience in leading local churches, superintendency, ecumenical service, advocacy, and social work. When the election came down to Rev. Escobedo-Frank and Rev. Oliveto, Dottie courageously and sacrificially bowed out, and I witnessed her wisdom, compassion and prophetic capacity. In this act, Dottie paved the way for the Western Jurisdiction to continue its prophetic role in leading the denomination in breaking barriers and moving more fully into God’s vision for the church. This is the kind of bishop we need.

Dottie identifies with Joshua who received the baton from Moses to guide the people of Israel from the wilderness into their next chapter. We know from scripture this was a complicated journey. There is a difference between struggling to be free and actually being self-governing with equanimity, justice and grace. As we enter into this pivotal time, and we as a jurisdiction are pushing to actualize our values, Dottie has the depth of faith, spirit, compassion, humor and wisdom to see us into the next part of our history with integrity, vision, and care.

Endorser: Desert Southwest Conference Delegation, Rev. Dan Hurlbert

Relationship to Candidate: Clergy Colleagues, DSC Delegation (written by Head of Delegation, Dan Hurlbert)

The Desert Southwest Annual Conference delegation is pleased to endorse the candidacy of Rev. Dr. Dottie Escobedo-Frank. Through decades of service Dottie has shown herself to be a compassionate leader who cares for the marginalized, has led in our conference, and is not afraid to make “good trouble”.

Through personal relationships Dottie has reached out to marginalized person to join with them in various levels of ministry. She has a unique ability to see those who have been pushed to the sidelines and invite them into the mainstream of ministry.

Dottie has been a committee chairperson and district superintendent in DSW. She was asked to serve on the WJC Team of Ten putting her in a unique position of being able to help the jurisdiction live into a new vision of ministry.

While serving near down town Phoenix Dottie led the church in reaching out to homeless neighbors. This drew the ire of residents who were unable to see the need and the city council who were eager to please well to do constituents. Dottie is not afraid to challenge systems of oppression. We believe Dottie will make a great episcopal leader.

Endorser: Rev. Jasper Peters

Relationship to Candidate: Clergy Colleague, Served on Team of Ten together

My deepest impression of Dottie was also my first impression–of her deep care to listen and offer compassionate understanding. I am reminded of the Franciscan words–let me seek rather to understand, than to be understood. Differently put, if Dottie is in the room, there is room for others.

In our work as clergy colleagues and on the WJ Team of 10, I have seen Dottie offer to a stranger the same thing she would offer to a friend: the presumption of good intent, a compassionate and listening ear, and a willingness to collaborate and conspire together for the good.

The through-line in my work with her is seeing her seek a deep understanding of other people, even those whom she might disagree. I have seen in equal measure a willingness to allow a bold sense of the Holy Spirit to guide her–Dottie is not afraid to dream big dreams. Together, I believe as Bishop she would offer both driven and thoughtful leadership. I am proud to offer my personal endorsement of her candidacy for the Episcopacy in the Western Jurisdiction.

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