Rev. Dr. Dottie Escobedo-Frank, Resident Bishop of the California-Pacific Conference starting January 2023, has been on the leading edge of church vitalization and transformation. She has served the church and community in progressive roles and responsibilities including working with people on the street, founding a church Farmer’s Market, working with immigrant populations, the opening of The Inn, and gathering a community rich in diversity. Bishop Dottie is a preacher, speaker, writer, community leader, wife, mother and grandmother.
Bishop Dottie grew up as a daughter of Lutheran missionaries, living on the border of Arizona and Mexico. A social worker, she specialized in foster care and medical pediatric crisis management. She earned a Masters of Social Work from Arizona State University. Later, she completed a Masters of Divinity from Claremont School of Theology. She earned her Doctorate of Ministry from George Fox Evangelical Seminary. Bishop Dottie has pastored six churches: Liberty UMC, Mission Bell UMC, Community Church of Joy (ELCA), CrossRoads UMC, Catalina UMC, and Paradise Valley UMC. She has also served as South District Superintendent, and Dean of the Cabinet, in the Desert Southwest Conference.
Bishop Dottie authored several books on the subject of church vitalization and transformation: Advent & Christmas; Sermon Seeds, 40 Creative Sermons; Jesus Insurgency, The Church Revolution from the Edge (co-authored by Rudy Rasmus); ReStart Your Church; Our Common Sins; Give It Up!; and The Sacred Secular, How God is Using the World to Sharpe the Church (co-authored by Robert Rynders). As a preacher and speaker, Bishop Dottie’s voice brings courage and hope to pastors and church leaders around the world.
Bishop Dottie believes that living in a time of epochal change requires the church to find sacred ways to die in order to be reborn. Death moments in the church are the impetus for Her resurrection. She calls for a church structure in decline to ‘embrace’ the pain of loss, so that the joy of life can be found again. Bishop Dottie calls for “heretics” to lead the church forward. As the ones who create movements, as the ones who see clearly the Church’s true vision, edge-dwellers are now recognized and rewarded by society, while at the same time rejected by the Church. Now is the time, she says, to push these new leaders, these edge-dwellers, to the forefront of church restarts.
Worship, preaching, justice, mercy, and creating space for revolutionary change define Bishop Dottie’s work and passion. She is full of hope that the Holy Spirit is leading the Church in the present and into the future, and calls on churches to develop communities of true disciples of Jesus Christ who participate in this transformation.