The California-Pacific Conference of The United Methodist Church

Lucile Wheatley Memorial Service

The life of Lucile Wheatley will be celebrated on:

Saturday, February 10, 2018 at 2:00PM
Westwood United Methodist Church
10497 Wilshire Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90024

As reported by United Methodist News Service, Lucile Wheatley, wife of the late Bishop Melvin Wheatley, died Nov. 23 in Escondido, California. She was 100.

Alongside her husband, she advocated for causes that were then unpopular. During World War II, she and her husband caused a stir when they moved into the Fresno, California, home of a Japanese-American family to protect it from vandals after the family was ordered into an internment camp. Later, she joined her husband in advocating for the full inclusion of LGBTQ Christians in church life. Her husband was bishop of what is now the Mountain Sky Area from 1972 to 1984, and he faced possible censure when he became the first episcopal leader to appoint an openly gay pastor.

Particularly here in Southern California, her son Jim notes, Lucile Wheatley and her husband were avid supporters of the Gay Men’s Chorus of Los Angeles and Orange County. In 1970, she led the “Portraits of American Women” promoting interfaith and cross-cultural dialogue amongst women’s groups throughout southern California.

This past June 2017 at the 33rd Annual Session of the California-Pacific Conference, she was honored by Bishop Grant J. Hagiya with the Bishop’s Award and also by the Cal-Pac Methodist Federation for Social Action with the coveted Mildred Hutchinson Award for her lifetime of spirit and passion for social justice.

The Rev. Donald E. Messer, a longtime friend and president emeritus of Iliff School of Theology, said he and his wife, Bonnie, loved “her vivacious spirit, intellectual acumen, courageous compassion, pithy comments and visionary outlook.”

“She and Bishop Wheatley were always light years ahead of others in terms of social justice and human equality,” Messer said.