A United Methodist Church bishop in California, Bishop Minerva Carcaño, who faced a church trial, has been acquitted of allegations related to harassment and financial misconduct.
The trial, spanning four days, involved testimonies from the bishop’s subordinates, who accused her of overstepping her authority in financial matters and mistreating those who questioned her actions.
One specific accusation against the bishop was her involvement in the hiring of her daughter, Sofia, as an administrative assistant. It was alleged that Sofia received rent-free housing, and later, a conference fund was used to renovate her residence. Carcaño was also accused of interfering with the authority of the California-Nevada Conference board of trustees concerning the use of church property. Additionally, she was charged with not granting a clergywoman the full 12-week maternity leave mandated by church rules.
The trial was closely watched by The Rev. Lyssette Perez, the president of Methodists Associated Representing the Cause of Hispanic/Latino Americans (MARCHA), who found the entire process to be painful. Perez expressed her concerns about the way these issues were addressed within the church, emphasizing the need for a more collaborative approach. She remarked, “This should not be the way that we solve problems in the church. We cannot continue to hurt each other. We need to find ways to work together and try to collaborate with one another.”
Many supporters of Bishop Carcaño were troubled by the initial decision to suspend her for 18 months, which exceeded the 60-day suspension period outlined in the church’s rule book. They saw this extended suspension as a form of punishment in itself. It caused considerable debate within the church community.
Despite the allegations and the extended suspension, the 69-year-old bishop has received the news that she can resume her leadership of the California-Nevada Conference. This decision comes after a careful review of the trial’s proceedings and the allegations made against her. The church has chosen to reinstate her to her previous role.
This outcome is seen as a resolution to a challenging chapter within the United Methodist Church, providing the opportunity for Bishop Carcaño to continue her leadership while addressing the concerns raised during the trial.