A prominent figure within The United Methodist Church is set to face a church trial after a year of being suspended. Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the San Francisco Episcopal Area has been placed on leave since last year, following two complaints that were filed against her.
The complaints against Bishop Carcaño were received by the UMC Western Jurisdiction of Bishops, leading to her suspension. The nature of the complaints has not been disclosed, and it is unclear what led to the complaints being filed against her.
The Western Jurisdiction Committee on the Episcopacy and the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops announced last Thursday that they were unable to reach a “just resolution” with Carcaño regarding the complaints. As a result, she will now face a church trial, which will be presided over by a committee of fellow bishops.
It is rare for a bishop within The United Methodist Church to face a church trial. However, given the serious nature of the complaints against Bishop Carcaño, the decision to move forward with a trial was deemed necessary. The trial will be closely watched by members of the church, as well as those who are interested in issues of theological progressivism within the church.
Meanwhile, Bishop Minerva Carcaño will continue to be suspended from her duties, and Bishop Sally Dyck, who has been serving as interim bishop for San Francisco, will continue in her role. In the announcement, WJCB President Bishop Dottie Escobedo-Frank stated that the bishops are still hopeful for a fair resolution and are making preparations for the upcoming trial.
“We ask all to join us in prayers for all the complainants, Bishop Carcaño, the California-Nevada Annual Conference and the Western Jurisdiction,” added Escobedo-Frank.
Interim Bishop Dyck sent a pastoral letter to the members of the California-Nevada Conference on the same day as the Western Jurisdiction’s announcement. In the letter, she recognized that the news of the church trial may cause a range of emotions and opinions among members, potentially leading to further division and harm.
“I would encourage all of us to pull together as the body of Christ in the California-Nevada Annual Conference,” wrote Dyck. “As we navigate this difficult season, draw strength in knowing that the United Methodist community is praying for you.”
Bishop Carcaño has been a vocal advocate for social justice causes, including immigration reform and LGBTQ+ rights. She has been a strong proponent of the idea that the church should be welcoming to all people, regardless of their background or beliefs. Her progressive views have often put her at odds with more conservative members of the church.
The decision to suspend Bishop Carcaño and now to proceed with a church trial has sparked debate within the UMC. Some members of the church believe that the complaints against her are part of a larger effort to silence progressive voices within the church. Others argue that the complaints are based on legitimate concerns and that the trial is necessary to ensure that the UMC upholds its standards of conduct for its leaders.