Elizabeth Tay McVicker

Ethnic Background: Asian American (Chinese)

Conference: Mountain Sky

Probationary Date: 06/14/1997

Full Membership Date: 06/19/1999

Number of Eligible Quadrenniums: 4

Master of Divinity, Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, CA 12/1992

B.A. American Studies, Yale University, New Haven, CT 5/1990

Ministry Experience:
Pastored a wide variety of congregations including inner-city, state capitol, urban, downtown, and retirement communities in Arizona, Wyoming, Colorado and Utah. Served as senior pastor, solo pastor and associate pastor to persons from multicultural, Anglo, middle-class, working-class, homeless, and LGBTQ+ communities.

1997-1999 Asbury UMC Phoenix, AZ Associate Pastor
Create a racially diverse ministry environment in all aspects of ministry—evangelism, community outreach, discipleship classes, leadership development, pastoral care and worship– within a predominantly Caucasian congregation. I developed leaders from a variety of ethnic and racial groups.

1999-2002 Christ UMC Phoenix, AZ Senior Pastor
Oversee the administration of all church committees including Mission and Outreach. Shepherd the congregation through the effects of a community in transition and becoming more heavily Hispanic. Serve on Board of Directors of the 51st Avenue Friendship Center. I secured a $50,000 grant for the after-school program and opened an Associate Pastor position for Hispanic Ministry.

2004-2007 Willowbrook UMC Sun City, AZ Associate Pastor
Provide pastoral care and visitation to 111 homebound members in varying stages of life transition. I launched a small group ministry and received 40 new members in 6 months.

2007 Native American Fellowship Tempe, AZ Pastor

2009-2016 First UMC Cheyenne, WY Associate Pastor
Direct the Caring Ministries including Stephen Ministry, Prayer Team, Hospital and Home Visitation, Christian Education including supervise 3-4 staff, Disciple Bible Study, Interim Youth Pastor, evangelism. I established a preschool which now has 76 children and 17 employees.

2016-2020 First UMC/Centenary UMC Salt Lake City, UT Senior Pastor

2020–present District Superintendent, Utah and Western Colorado, Mountain Sky

Served on a wide variety of conference and district committees including Conference Secretary (2012-2020), Rules committee, Program and Arrangements, Church Building and Location, Religion and Race, clergy coach and circuit leader, cultural competency trainer, conflict resolution team, conference visioning task forces.

Community and Ecumenical Involvement:
Matching Grant Coordinator, Lutheran Social Ministry of the Southwest, Phoenix, AZ 2/1992 to 1/1993
Enlisted the support of local churches, businesses and individuals for the Refugee Resettlement Program. Raised monetary and in-kind donations which were matched dollar for dollar by the federal government.

Assistant to Executive Director, Planned Parenthood of Central and Northern AZ 2/1993 to 6/1997
Served on senior management team which directed all aspects of the medical operations, community and public relations, and resource development of an organization with an $8.1M annual budget. Assisted the Board in strategic planning, policy-making, donor relations, and community visibility.

Executive Director, Cheyenne Interfaith Hospitality Network, Cheyenne, WY 10/2007 to 2/2009
Managed board relations and personnel, program development, fiscal management, direct resource development, facility operations and management, community and public relations. I secured a $250,000 HUD grant to purchase transitional housing for homeless families.

Other Relevant Experience:
Grant Writer, Desert-Southwest Annual Conference, Phoenix, AZ 2/2003 to 5/2004
I raised over $200,000 in grants.

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?
I have always sensed God pointing me towards the episcopacy. Until becoming a DS, I did not feel ready. Now, having worked on the cabinet for 2 years after serving as conference secretary for 9 years, I feel more confident about what I sense to be God’s call to episcopal leadership.

Appointment-making has developed as a particular gift and skill that brings me tremendous satisfaction and joy. The consultative process with churches helps me to understand their current ministry context. I have skill in identifying a pastor’s gifts and communicating their match with a church. As a DS, I take seriously the role I play in collaborating with the Bishop to provide opportunities to pastors who have been overlooked because of implicit bias and institutional racism in our system.

I have more hope now than ever for the United Methodist Church. We have reached a critical moment in history where we can re-envision and re-shape our church as we emerge from the strife within the denomination. Because of the racial reckoning in our nation, the church is more ready to deeply address racism within the church than ever before. We must address the stale paradigms and connect with people where they are as they seek spiritual nourishment for their lives.

Other parts of the connection look to the Western Jurisdiction, with its culture of collaboration and transparency, the bold leadership shown regarding LGBTQIA+ justice, and its diversity, to be a leader in shaping the emerging church. My experiences as an Asian American woman have given me a personal perspective of the harm that is happening in our church. My understanding of myself as an “usher” in the Kin-dom of God compels me to utilize my position and influence to seek out the people on the margins and create a space forthem.

I believe we can affect the current trajectory of decline within the church by developing leaders who resonate with the larger community in their values, cultural and racial backgrounds, and ethos of the wide and deep inclusiveness of God’s love. My spirit, which is fiercely hope-filled, compassionate, and collaborative, is what I offer to the Western Jurisdiction and the denomination.

Describe how the last two years have affected your ministry.
Two years ago, I became the District Superintendent for Utah and Western Colorado, which covers 114,000 square miles. Zoom provided a way to stay in better contact with the churches in my district and the annual conference. We discovered we were able to attend to church matters electronically when necessary—even clergy introductions. While some meetings are more effective when conducted in person, we can also experience greater efficiencies with time and financial resources through electronic means.

While there have been benefits, the risk for burnout among pastors and the stress on the local church in dealing with COVID is alarming. On top of the strife over human sexuality within the denomination, the Boy Scouts legal matter, the racial reckoning, and the upheaval surrounding the presidential election, on a weekly basis pastors had to defend their decisions to require masks or not, to worship in-person or online. And churches were propelled into the electronic age of worship streaming fraught with all its technological glitches.

Amid the strident bickering over the most appropriate policies for COVID, I understood something that I had not really understood before: people find deep value and life-sustaining power through the practice of worship. Worship is not just an empty routine they undergo every Sunday. It is vital to their well-being and connection to God. They need it. When it was not possible because of COVID, they demanded it.

This deeper understanding has renewed my mission as a clergyperson. God has called and convicted me once more to dedicate myself to the church. The worshipping community feeds people’s souls, draws them closer to God, and compels them to build the kingdom of God in this realm. Whether I am a local church pastor, a district superintendent, or a bishop, my mission is to create and sustain meaningful worshipping spaces which expand the wideness of God’s mercy and power.

Endorser: Rich Marsh

Relationship to Candidate: Chancellor, Mountain Sky Conference

I’ve known Elizabeth since I started serving as Conference Chancellor in 2006. Our interactions were occasional before she joined the Rules Committee and served as Conference Secretary. She knows how session rules work and could probably draft the rules on her own. Her skills were particularly useful when we patterned rules to deal with virtual meetings after the onset of COVID.

In her capacity as Conference Secretary, she, I, and others worked through the many questions coming before plenary sessions. She knows how to speak before an assembly, how to manage an agenda while giving people space to say what they have to say, and how to work with the others at the head table.

Now, as District Superintendent, I’ve witnessed her supervisory skills. She knows the Discipline. She knows how to manage expectations and discord in these times of the reordering of the denomination.

Having served three resident bishops and interacted with many other bishops across the denomination, I have some insight into the gifts a bishop needs to bring to the table. Elizabeth has these gifts. She is a natural leader with a wonderful calming spirit.

I wholly endorse Elizabeth as a candidate for resident bishop.

Endorser: Dr. Burt P. Yin, Ed.D

Relationship to Candidate: Sibling in Christ

Dear Members of the Western Jurisdiction Episcopal Discernment Team:

As an active lay servant in leadership roles to my local church, my district, and the California / Nevada Conference, I deem it a great privilege to submit this statement of endorsement in support of Rev. Elizabeth Tay McVicker and her call to become an episcopal leader in our denomination. Having known Pastor Elizabeth for nearly three decades has afforded us a deep, abiding friendship, through which we have shared faith stories of our challenges and opportunities. Our common tasks have been “to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.”

In addition to her warm and caring nature for God’s people, Pastor Elizabeth finds sacredness in her pastoral duties within the church setting as well as her ministries within the surrounding communities. She has intentionally inserted herself in projects and events along her spiritual journey that have changed people’s lives in transformative and productive ways.

Pastor Elizabeth’s leadership skills involve producing settings where collaboration among decision makers is nurtured and sustained. This skill is critically needed considering current challenges facing our denomination. I hope that the Western Jurisdiction Episcopal Discernment Team will afford her a well-deserved opportunity to personally share her call to become an episcopal leader.

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