Elias Galvan

Bishop Elias Galvan


United States

Western Jurisdiction


Bishop Elias Galvan is a retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church, having served from 1984-2004.

In 2001, he became the President of the Council of Bishops to serve a one-year term.

He was born in San Juan Acozac, Puebla, Mexico, into a Methodist parsonage. He has a B.A. degree from California State University at Long Beach and a Rel. D. from the School of Theology at Claremont where he obtained a Rel. D.

He became a probationary member of the Southern California-Arizona Conference, and later was received into full membership and ordained an elder. He has served the following appointments: Asbury United Methodist Church as Associate Pastor; Pastor of City Terrace United Methodist Church and the Church of All Nations in Los Angeles; Director of Ethnic Planning and Strategy; District Superintendent, Santa Barbara District, with two years as Dean of the Cabinet; Conference Council Director.

He was a delegate to the General and Jurisdictional Conferences of 1972 - 1984, serving as chair of one of the legislative committees in 1972.

During 1983 and 1984 he served as President of the Southern California Ecumenical Council. He has been very active in MARCHA, the national Hispanic caucus, of which he was the first chairperson of the coordinating committee; appointed by the Council of Bishops to Chair the Committee to Develop a National Plan for Hispanic Ministries for the 1989-1992 quadrennium.

In 1984, he was elected to the episcopacy and was assigned to the newly-created Phoenix Area, Desert Southwest Conference. He served on the General Council on Ministries (1984-88); General Board of Discipleship (1989-92); President of the College of Bishops of the Western Jurisdiction (1989). Trustee, School of Theology at Claremont, California (1985- ); General Board of Global Ministries (1992-2000).

Bishop Galvan retired in 2004.

On July 12, 1986, he married Zoraida Freytes, a native of Puerto Rico, who was raised in a United Methodist parsonage. They have one son, Elias Gabriel.