Conference Affiliation: California Pacific

BS – UC Davis, 1980
MDiv – Claremont School of Theology, 1986
ABD – Claremont School of Theology, 1995

Ministry Experience:
District Camp Counselor, Summers 1984-1988
Filipino Christmas Institute, Counselor and Co-dean, winter break 1983 – 1986
Pastor – FUMC Fontana, Feb 1986-Jan 1990
AC Youth UN / Washington DC planning and implementation team, 2 years
Design Team and Counselor – Strength for the Journey (HIV/AIDS) Camp
Rep to CalPAC Mission Emersion Trip to Africa -1986, Mission Interpreter for 2 years
Board of Ordained Ministry – 1987 – June 1994 (Registrar, 1991-94)
Design Team and Counselor – AC Youth Multi-Culture Camp, 1992-1995
Associate Pastor – Holman UMC, Feb 1990 – June 1995
UMCOR Coordinator in LA Emergency Response to Civil Unrest following acquittal of police in Rodney King beating
Theologian in Residence, Tantur Ecumenical Institute, Jerusalem, Sept 1995-April 1996
GBGM Liaison to Jerusalem – Sept 1996 – Feb 2006
Jurisdictional Conference Reserve Delegate, 2004
Pastor – The Neighborhood/La Vecindad – July 2006 – June 2011
Conference Leadership Team – July 2006 – June 2010
Co-Leader – District Rebuild Team, following Hurricane Katrina, 2 years
Pastor – Santee UMC, August 2011 – June 2014
General Conference/Jurisdictional Conference Delegate since 2014
Senior Pastor – FUMC Pasadena, July 2014-June 2021
GCFA Board Member – 2016 – 2024
District Superintendent – July 2021 – June 30, 2024
Assistant to the Bishop, Cal-Pac – July 1, 2024 – present

Community Leadership:
Fontana We Care – founding Board member, Ecumenical Ministry for Unhoused Neighbors
Fontana Ministerial Association, 1986-1989, President 1988
Rabbi Wolf Young Religious Leaders Program – 1986 – 90; co-dean, 1990-1993
Interfaith Committee Against the Gulf War – 1990 – 1991
National Conference of Christians and Jews – 1993-1995
SCLC – End Violence Campaign – Taking Back Our Streets
World Council of Churches – End the Occupation Committee – 1998-2006
Long Beach Ministerial Association – 2006-2011
CLUE (Clergy and Laity United for Economic Justice) – Local Leadership Team, 2007-2011
Long Beach Fair Housing Advocacy Committee – 2008-2011
South Coast Interfaith Council – Member 2006-2011, President 2010-2011
Santee Food Bank Board – member 2011-2014, President 2013
Methodist Hospital of Arcadia – Board Member – 2015-2022
CLUE Pasadena – Local Leadership Team – 2015-2017
Friends in Deed – Pasadena Interfaith Supportive Services for At-Risk Neighbors – Religious Leaders Advisory Board – 2016-2021
Habitat for Humanity – San Gabriel Valley Religious Leaders Advisory Board – 2016-2021

Age/Number of Quadrennia Eligible to Serve: 1

What would you identify as the top 5 essential leadership qualities for a bishop in the West?
We live in a time of urgency requiring loving, non-anxious, strategic, creative, and prophetic leadership at all levels of the church and especially from our episcopal leaders. There is no time for petty politics, power struggles, or cynical disengagement. It is time for honest and transparent conversations and work, rooted in our hope and trust in God.
Episcopal leaders need to love the church, not the church as institution, but the church as the Body of Christ, the gathered community of sinners and saints. Grounded in their call as servant leaders and radiating the joy of Christ’s claim on their life, such bishops yearn for the church to reflect the grace of God. Bishops who lead from this space will seek to do no harm and to do good so that all that are touched by the church, whether within or without, can experience the unconditional love of God.
Episcopal leaders also are essential to bringing a non-anxious presence into this time of chaos and fear. Across the church, we need to hold many difficult conversations, ones that tell the truth about the season of pruning and fallowness in which we find ourselves. Conversations about closures, re-purposing property, and sustainability are emotion laden. Bringing compassion, cultural and contextual awareness, and hope to those conversations is important for healthy and life-giving transformation. With a non-anxious, grace-filled presence, those conversations can lead towards liberation and new life in truth and accountability in authentic relationships of interdependence.
Then the gifts of strategic and creative leadership are important for all that is before us. I often describe this as playing four-dimensional chess. Care has to be taken to look at implications for decisions and next steps, exploring possible consequences at different intersections. Thoughtful and deliberate actions are essential. Sometimes those choices will not produce the results we hoped for, but when they have been done with intention, it is easier to see what wasn’t helpful and make different choices, acknowledging what didn’t work and make corrections or totally new choices. Such strategic work allows us to take risks and invest in new ways of being church built on thoughtful and considered assessment of the potential gains and challenges.
And lastly but maybe most important of all, episcopal leaders must be prophetic witnesses to the church and in the public arena. The US is now mirroring the 1930s in Germany and parts of Europe, in which fascism and Nazism were born. We must be prepared to move to the streets in resistance to all that opposes the liberating, life-giving message of the Gospel.

Describe an impactful experience you have had with a bishop.
I remain inspired by Bishop Jack Tuell and his leadership. He was committed to bringing younger clergy into areas of leadership traditionally held for those more ‘seasoned’ leaders. Numerous of my class of elders were nominated to the Board of Ordained ministry within a year or two of our ordination and full membership. He felt that those recently through the process would add an important voice and experience for support and correction. He was particularly aware of significantly increasing the presence of clergy women on those committees.

He was also able to receive criticism and challenge without retribution to those who called him out. A large group of clergywomen went to Bishop Tuell’s office one day to object to his invitation of a Catholic bishop to preach at the upcoming ordination service. He was committed to ecumenical presence and felt that this would have been a learning moment for the bishop as well. Today, I would have responded to his invitation differently. But our objection and the demonstration that Catholic women were going to make for women’s ordination, caused Bishop Tuell to rescind his invitation. Despite his deep frustration, maybe even anger at our response, Bishop Tuell, to my knowledge never held grudges against us, or punished us for speaking up through appointments or opportunities to serve.

Lastly, Bishop Tuell’s capacity to change his mind, admit he was wrong and work to correct the harm he helped to create remain a lesson in humble and accountable leadership. From his work to craft and put in place the horrendous prohibition against LGBTQIA siblings in the BOD, he was convicted eventually by his actions and realized the deep violence done by that work. He sought to remove those words for the last couple of decades of his life. I believe he rejoiced in heaven at the close of GC 2020/2024.

Helping to ensure younger, diverse clergy and laity are empowered in their leadership, receiving criticism and correction with grace, and the ability to admit one’s wrong doing and seeking to correct and address the harm created would be benchmarks I would be honored to be known for in my leaadership, no matter at what position in the church or world.

Endorsement (First Endorsement)

As a Hispanic LGBTQIA+ Provisional Elder in Cal-Pac, I am honored to endorse Rev. Sandy Olewine for consideration as an Episcopal leader. Her theology, articulated through words and actions, demonstrates Christian principles: a passion for Christ, care for God’s creation, and wisdom and knowledge. Her unwavering commitment to justice, equity, and transparency, perfectly align with our denomination’s core values.

As an administrator, she has the capacity to provide general oversight and advance the temporal and spiritual interests of the Church. Her spiritually grounded leadership and capacity for strategic analysis allow her to minister with and to diverse groups. Her openness to others’ visions, voices, and needs without losing her own fosters unity and equity while considering the unique needs of the constituency impacted by the decisions made.

In all her roles, she has established healthy boundaries, promoted self-care for herself and others, and has the support of family and friends. Her leadership has touched the lives of many across our connection while significantly impacting diverse places around the globe.

Rev. VJ Cruz-Baez
FUMC El Centro

Endorsement (Second Endorsement)

I enthusiastically write this letter of recommendation for Rev Sandy Olewine as she offers herself for service in the office of Bishop for the UMC. Sandy has served with distinction at every level of our connection. She has lead with clarity and compassion as a pastor of a both large and small congregations. She has demonstrated strong missional strategy skills as a District Superintendent. Her trusted, competent and justice-oriented leadership led to her most recent appointment as Assistant to Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank. She has served on General Agencies and has actively participated in the ministry of our world-wide connection. At a time where the future of the UMC is at an inflection point, Sandy’s practical and creative, sober and optimistic, healing and just approach to spiritual and temporal leadership will be a gift to the Jurisdiction as well as the whole church.

Erin Hawkins
Director of Connectional Ministries
California-Pacific Annual Conference

Endorsement (Third Endorsement)

The Rev. Sandy Olewine has been in my life for as long as I can remember. As a teen, I was inspired by her GBGM Missionary service in Palestine-Israel. Before I even understood what the Intifada or Nahkba was, I knew that “Auntie” Sandy was a prophetic voice that lifted up stories of the struggles of oppressed people. When she returned to the US, I continued to come across young leaders that were mentored by Sandy, both in Palestine and in the Cal-Pac Conference. And in 2014, after having served 6 years at First UMC Pasadena, Rev. Olewine became my senior pastor, my mentor, and the godmother of my daughters. The testament to Rev. Olewine’s leadership is her ability to create genuine and authentic relationships, in cross-cultural and intersectional contexts; her administrative skillset and conflict resolution in her appointments as a District Superintendent, and on the multitude of committees she serves, including GCFA. Her compassion, wisdom, prophetic voice for God, and her experience with our local, national, and worldwide church and society, is what our denomination needs in episcopal leadership.
Rev. Allison K. Mark, Faith UMC, Torrance, CA
CalPac Head of Delegation
GBCS, Mother of Sandy’s godchildren

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