Influential United Methodist bishop Daniel C. Arichea Jr. dies at 87

(Photo courtesy of the United Methodist Council of Bishops)
June 14, 2021

United Methodist bishop Daniel C. Arichea Jr.—a Bible scholar who championed full inclusion of LGBTQ people in church life—died June 1 in Taguig, Philippines, of complications related to COVID-19. He was 87.

As a Bible translator, Arichea helped make scripture more accessible to people in multiple countries, including his native Philippines. As a bishop, he led United Methodists in the Baguio Episcopal Area in the northern part of the country from 1994 until his retirement in 2000. He also made an impact on the global denomination.

“Bishop Arichea was a courageous voice for justice for all of God’s children, especially LGBTQ persons,” said United Methodist Council of Bishops President Cynthia Fierro Harvey.

At the time of his death, Arichea was a board member of Reconciling Ministries Network, an advocacy group seeking LGBTQ equality in the UMC. He also was a proponent of the Christmas Covenant, a proposal for regionalizing governance in the future UMC.

Throughout his ministry, Arichea continued to write articles on the Bible. He also cowrote four handbooks for translators. Among his writing partners was the linguist Eugene A. Nida, who as executive secretary of the American Bible Society was the guiding force behind the Good News Bible translation.

Donald E. Messer, cochair of the United Methodist Global AIDS Fund, said Arichea and his wife, Ruth, facilitated his trips to the Philippines to advocate for HIV education and prevention. Messer said the couple also spoke at AIDS conferences.

“A biblical scholar professionally, Bishop Arichea personally epitomized biblical values of love, compassion, justice, and hospitality,” Messer said. —United Methodist News Service