Lately, several open letters have surfaced urging people to review or lift the suspension of Western Jurisdiction Bishop Minerva Carcaño (you can read the latest official update on this matter here). Nevertheless, we have yet to hear from members of her annual conference to, which she is accountable to and has authority over. Fortunately, we now have an update from some of those clergy members.
The following is a full-text copy of the Open Letter on Facebook.
May 1, 2023
An open letter to:
- United Methodist Council of Bishops, c/o Bishop Thomas J. Bickerton, President
- General Commission on Religion and Race, c/o Rev. Dr. Giovanni Arroyo, General Secretary and Bishop Cynthia Moore-Koikoi, Board President
- General Commission on the Status and Role of Women, c/o Dawn Wiggins Hare, General Secretary and Bishop Tracy S. Malone, Board President
We, the undersigned clergy of the California-Nevada Annual Conference—who are People of Color, LGBTQIA+ people, mental health advocates, those who reside at various intersections of these, and allies—have witnessed a significant amount of public commentary and advocacy regarding the complaint process involving Bishop Carcaño over the course of the past 12+ months. The vast majority of this commentary has been solely focused on how difficult, even harmful, this has been for Bishop Carcaño. While we have no doubt that the past 12+ months have been personally and professionally difficult for Bishop Carcaño, the degree to which concern for the full body of the California-Nevada Conference has been absent from these public statements, compels us to speak out. Sadly, we believe that the Western Jurisdiction’s ongoing commitment to honor the Disciplinary process, including the mandates of confidentiality, has provided space for others to create a thin narrative focused solely on engendering support for Bishop Carcaño.
We acknowledge that our institution has enacted or been complicit in perpetuating systemic oppression and harm including, but not limited to racism, sexism, and homophobia. Some of us have experienced and witnessed this firsthand. We, too, are eager for justice to be done. However, those advocating for an immediate end to Bishop Carcaño’s suspension, do so by their own admission without any objective awareness as to why the suspension was implemented. To expedite this process, absent this awareness, is irresponsible, reckless, and does harm to faith in our systems of accountability.
We understand these public calls come from a place of care and concern, but to raise the prophetic voice against systemic oppression without objective knowledge of a particular situation does a disservice to justice itself. While there are, without a doubt, those within the California-Nevada Conference who would welcome Bishop Carcaño’s return to active service, we believe that her return to active service as Resident Bishop of the California-Nevada Conference without the accountability required by a Just Resolution agreement or the findings of a trial court, would create a depth of conflict and division that could undermine the mission and ministry of the Annual Conference for years to come.
In the peace of Christ, [click here to read clergy signatories, 81 at publication]
It is important to note that the charges against Bishop Carcaño and the potential consequences of lifting the suspension are not publicly known outside of the official denominational process. However, other open letters (i.e. GCORR, GCOSROW, MARCHA) have raised legitimate concerns regarding the timeline of events. While I have faith that the elected leaders are fulfilling their responsibilities to minimize harm, I join my colleagues above in expressing the desire for a just resolution or a church trial to be reached in a more timely manner.
You can ask the group questions or share the document here on Facebook.
Thanks for reading, commenting, subscribing, and sharing on social media.
I have no idea about all the details behind her suspension. It may be that it would be inappropriate for the Bishop to be placed back in active service.
But it is highly unusual for the process to hang in limbo for so long. That ends up raising serious questions about the process itself.
I read the open letters that were protesting her suspension as saying, at least in part, ‘get this done already!’
My concern is for the individuals who brought the complaints who are effectively being pilloried by this trial” for in the media.
I believe there is a process and suspect the process is not a quick, shallow public event. God is in control and we need to honor his plan and time.