Minerva G. Carcaño

Carcaño at GC 2008
Bishop Carcaño speaking at the 2008

United Methodist General Conference
Denomination The United Methodist Church
Senior posting
Judicatory Desert Southwest Conference
Title Bishop
Period in office 2004-present
Consecration July 17, 2004 [1]
Predecessor William Dew
Ordination as Elder June 1979
Previous Episcopal Office none
Previous post District Superintendent
Date of birth January 20, 1954 (1954-01-20) (age 63)
Place of birth Edinburg, TX, United States

Minerva G. Carcaño (born January 20, 1954 in Edinburg, TX) is the first Hispanic woman to be elected to the episcopacy of The United Methodist Church (UMC), [2] the second-largest Protestant denomination in the United States. She currently serves as Bishop of the Phoenix Episcopal Area, Desert Southwest Conference of the UMC. [3] She serves as the official spokesperson for the United Methodist Council of Bishops on the issue of immigration. [4]


Carcaño was raised in Edinburg, TX. Her early years of humble economic circumstances influenced her lifelong commitment to persons who face poverty and discrimination. Her ministry has included work with the poor, farm workers, immigrants, and refugees – including community organizing through the Industrial Areas Foundation. [5]

Carcaño graduated from the University of Texas-Pan American in 1975 and received a Masters of Theology from Perkins School of Theology of Southern Methodist University in 1979. She was ordained an elder in the United Methodist Church in 1979. She served as pastor in churches in Lubbock, TX, San Jose, CA, Crystal City, Carrizo Springs, and Hebbronville, McAllen in the early 1980s. In 1986 she became the first Hispanic woman to be appointed a United Methodist district superintendent, serving in that capacity in West Texas, New Mexico, and Portland, OR until 1992. From 1992-1996, Carcaño was the organizing pastor of the South Albuquerque Cooperative Ministry before becoming director of the Mexican American Program of Hispanic Studies Program at Perkins School of Theology. Currently serving as the Phoenix, Arizona-based Bishop of the Desert Southwest Conference of The United Methodist Church, she and her husband, an attorney, have a teenaged daughter.


In 2008, Carcaño authored "I Believe in Jesus,"[6] the annual Spiritual Growth Study for the United Methodist Women. It is published in both Spanish and English with a study guide by Glory Dharmaraj.


Immigration: Bishop Carcaño has been a vocal advocate for comprehensive Immigration reform in the United States, speaking out on behalf of "hard working immigrants seeking only to support themselves and their families [who] are being treated in ways that not only violate their human and civil rights, but that undermine the very values upon which this country was built." [7]

Out of her conviction that the church is "called by God to be a faith community of welcome," Carcaño has promoted a variety of ways to create dialogue, including "a bilateral ministry between Mexico and the United States" that is a natural way of "leading with a servant spirit and faithfulness." [8] As a symbolic act of practical outreach to those who continue to risk crossing the deserts of the Southwest, Carcaño has also worked with Humane Borders in establishing water stations along known routes in the desert. [9]

In February of 2009, Bishop Carcaño spoke to the Interfaith Platform on Humane Immigration Reform, saying:

'"As the suffering of immigrants and their families grows every day, we as people of faith long to bring healing to them and this land. As with people of all faiths, United Methodists stand with our immigrant brothers and sisters. Immigration reform that is just and humane is the only way to bring healing to our land."[10]

Homosexuality: Bishop Carcaño has long been a supporter of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) community, including support of the Reconciling Ministries Network and other organizations seeking GLBT recognition within United Methodism. She has assured those working to change the official policy of the denomination that "We are working hard to create an inclusive church, confronting resistance to even conversation. Some of our colleagues are in the place of fear. But all I expect is integrity and respect in the conversation." [11] During the 2008 General Conference of the United Methodist Church, Bishop Carcaño joined other Bishops and delegates in a witness in favor of full inclusion of gays and lesbians within the denomination. [12]

In an article introducing newly-elected Bishop Carcaño to the Phoenix Area, The Arizona Republic noted that she ‘supports full inclusion of gay and lesbian church members, including gay marriage.’[13] She was one of many clergy who publicly opposed and helped defeat Arizona Proposition 107 (2006) (which sought to ban gay marriage).[14]

External Links


See also

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