The Rev. Dr. Karen P. Oliveto was elected to the episcopacy on the 17th ballot by the Western Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church (UMC).

“Today we took a step closer into living into beloved community,” said Oliveto.

Since 2008, Oliveto has served as the senior pastor of Glide Memorial UMC in San Francisco. CA. Glide is the Western Jurisdiction’s largest membership congregation, and one of the top 100 largest membership congregations in the denomination. Prior to Glide, Oliveto served as the associate dean of academic affairs/director of contextual education at the Pacific School of Religion (PSR) in Berkeley. She has held pastorates at Bethany UMC in San Francisco and Bloomville UMC in Bloomville, New York, as well as being the campus minister at the Ecumenical House Campus Ministry at San Francisco State.

During his Episcopal Address on Wednesday, Bishop Warner H. Brown, Jr. of the San Francisco Episcopal Area reminded the body of the Jurisdiction’s vision to “be a home for all God’s people, gathered around a table of reconciliation and transformation.” The jurisdiction is multicultural and inclusive, engaged in the life of its communities with confident, effective, lay and clergy leadership in diverse ministry settings forming disciples who live out the Good News of Jesus as global citizens.

The Western Jurisdiction has traditionally been a place of historic first elections. Delegates to the Western Jurisdictional Conference have consistently advocated for full inclusion of all in the life of the church.

The Jurisdiction has elected:

  • The first Asian-American to be elected bishop was Wilbur Choy (Chinese-American) in 1972. He served in the Seattle and San Francisco Episcopal Areas before retirement;
  • The first African-American bishop to be elected in the Western Jurisdiction was Melvin G. Talbert in 1980;
  • The first African-American woman bishop was Leontine T.C. Kelly, elected in 1984;
  • The first Hispanic-American to be elected was Elias Galvan in 1984;
  • Bishop Elias Galvan was the first Hispanic ever to serve as president of the Council of Bishops (in 2001);
  • The first Japanese-American to be elected was Roy Sano in 1984; and,
  • The first Latina bishop was Minerva Carcaño, elected in 2004.

Oliveto earned a Ph.D and a M.Phil. from Drew University, a M.Div. from Pacific School of Religion (PSR), and a BA from Drew University.

She has served as a General Conference delegate in 2004 and 2016, and a Jurisdictional Conference delegate in 2000, 2008, and 2012. Oliveto serves on the General Council on Finance and Administration (GCFA), the Western Jurisdiction Council of Finance and Administration, the General Board of Higher Education and Ministry (GBHEM) as a coach for the Lead Women Pastor Project.

For Oliveto’s full biographical sketch, click here.

Oliveto will be consecrated on:

Saturday, July 16, 2016 at 2:00PM
Paradise Valley United Methodist Church
4455 East Lincoln Drive
Paradise Valley, AZ 85253

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