Rev. Dr. Dottie Escobedo-Frank grew up on the mission-field in Nogales, Arizona and Mexico and has devoted her life to community. Serving as a social worker for 15 years, then as an ordained deacon, and currently as an elder in The United Methodist Church, Dottie works tirelessly to lead the church into new life. She has served in four churches (small, medium, and mega-sized) and as a District Superintendent in the Desert Southwest Conference – always calling on “heretics and edge-dwellers” to lead the church forward.
Dottie earned her Master of Divinity degree from Claremont School of Theology (CST) and is grateful for the commuter option that was available then. She says, “I loved my time at CST. I was spiritually and intellectually challenged, and I was surrounded by a community that was seeking to know God more. Today, I am imagining what new possibilities are being born out of the travails of The United Methodist Church’s state of affairs. But, that’s just my next thing.” Dottie stays connected to CST as an annual donor and by serving on our board of trustees.
Claremont School of Theology is one of the 13 United Methodist seminaries supported by the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment of the United Methodist Church.
She says, “Institutions, including the Church, are led by people who are in the center of the institution. This means the institution ‘feeds’ them, and there is a need for the institution to continue in its current form. They benefit from the status quo. They are not the ones to lead the church to a new place. However, it takes the vision and creativity that exists within the people who dwell on ‘the edge’ of institutions to bring change. They are not stuck, and they have little to lose. Martin Luther and John Wesley were edge-dwellers: pushed to the edge of their churches. Most of our great change-makers have been called heretics. The ones who make change happen are often called troublemakers, rebels, sarcastics, and irreverents. Jesus himself was at the edge of his religious community. Heretics and edge-dwellers are deep in our faith tradition. We are in a time in the church when edge-dwellers are necessary for our future. Without them, we will die a stale death.”
In December of 2016, Dottie helped launch The Inn Project. ICE approached Bishop Robert Hoshibata’s office to see if churches would house asylees temporarily so that children (and their families) could be released from detention without long waits.
Dottie is also a sought-after national and international speaker on such topics as creative worship, restart churches, and leadership from the edge. She is a prolific writer and blogger.
Worship, preaching, justice, mercy, and creating space for revolutionary change define Dottie’s work and passion, and it is for these reasons and more that she has been chosen as one of CST’s Distinguished Alumnae.
Claremont School of Theology, Claremont, CA
One of seven apportioned giving opportunities of The United Methodist Church, the Ministerial Education Fund is at the heart of preparing people for making disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. The 13 United Methodist seminaries help students to discover their calling through the challenging curriculum. The fund enables the church to increase financial support for recruiting and educating ordained and diaconal ministers and to equip annual conferences to meet increased demands. Please encourage your leaders and congregations to support the Ministerial Education Fund apportionment at 100 percent.