United Methodists elected their first female Hispanic this weekend as the next bishop for the Desert Southwest Annual Conference, a region including all of Arizona, southern Nevada and the California cities along the Colorado River.
The Rev. Minera Carcaño, 50, a native of Edinburg, Texas, was elected on the 25th ballot in the wee hours of Saturday morning by 88 delegat es to the Western Jurisdiction Conference meeting in San Jose, Calif. She came from behind to win the necessary 59 ballots for election. She and another candidate were deadlocked for more than a dozen ballots before other candidates began dropping out, allowing for a winner to emerge. In the end, she received 83 of the 88 votes.
District superintendent of the Metropolitan District of the Oregon-Idaho Conference since 2001, Carcaño will succeed Bishop William Dew, 68, who has been Desert Southeast Conference bishop since 1996 and is retiring. Carcaño will take over Sept. 1. Conference offices are in Phoenix. Some 150 churches and more than 45,000 members make up the conference.
A 1975 graduate of the University of Texas Pan American in Edinburg, Carcaño earned her master of theology degree from the Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University. A thirdgeneration United Methodist who grew up on a farm in south Texas near the Mexican border, she served as pastor in churches in Lubbock, Texas; and San Jose, Calif. She returned to Texas to lead churches in Crystal City, Carrizo Springs, Hebbronville and McAllen. From 1986 to 1992, Carcaño was the denomination’s Western District superintendent.
For the next four years, she was the organizing pastor of the South Albuquerque Cooperative Ministry in New Mexico. In 1996, she was called to serve as director of the Mexican-American Program of Hispanic Studies at Perkins School of Theology and remained there until she took her current job as district superintendent in Portland. Carcaño is married and has a daughter.
A United Methodist bishop is elected a bishop for life, but assignments are usually for eight years. They may be extended to 12 years for "missional reasons."