Frank Schaefer defrocked by United Methodist officials

United Methodist Rev. Frank Schaefer serves communion to his supporters at the end of his two-day church trial. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert/United Methodist News Service

The Rev. Frank Schaefer serves Communion to his supporters at the end of his two-day church trial. Photo by Kathy L. Gilbert/United Methodist News Service


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(RNS) The Rev. Frank Schaefer was defrocked by United Methodist officials in Pennsylvania on Thursday (Dec. 19), after he refused to conform to denominational rules that prohibit ministers from officiating at same-sex weddings. Schaefer, who pastors a church in Lebanon, Pa., said he plans to appeal the decision. The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Board of Ordained Ministry had no choice, Bishop Peggy A. Johnson said in a statement. A two-day church trial last month found Schaefer guilty of violating church law by performing the 2007 same-sex wedding of his son. A jury suspended him for 30 days, during which he was asked to decide whether he could comply with church law; if not, he was to surrender his clergy credentials. Earlier this week, Schaefer said he would not voluntarily leave the ministry. He has said his actions were motivated by love, not defiance. The United Methodist Church accepts gay and lesbian members, but its Book of Discipline calls the practice of homosexuality “incompatible with Christian teaching” and bars clergy from performing same-sex unions. Schaefer’s trial is the first since the United Methodists’ 2012 General Conference upheld the denomination’s 40-year-old rules on the issue. At least four additional clergy face trials amid a growing wave of public disobedience to church law. The church’s rule cannot change until the next General Conference, in 2016. “I would hope as these other cases come up, it might lead more folks in the church to really dialogue about how we deal with difficult issues and begin to understand who we are as children of God,” said the Rev. Gary MacDonald, a Methodist minister and director of advanced ministerial studies at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. John Lomperis, Methodist program director of the conservative Institute on Religion & Democracy, praised the conference leaders for “upholding our biblical standards.” “He was not the first United Methodist minister to be defrocked for crossing these lines and will not be the last,” he said. Schaefer’s bishop this week said sections in the church rulebook discriminate against LGBT people. “There appear to be contradictions between the many affirming statements and these statements,” Johnson said. “This has led to confusion by many from the outside of the church wondering how we can talk out of two sides of our mouth.” Her comments came in response to a letter from 44 Pennsylvania clergy calling for her “to take a stand” supporting gays. She also said church trials on the issue “are not helpful,” and she would try to prevent them in the future. YS/MG END GADOUA The post Frank Schaefer defrocked by United Methodist officials appeared first on Religion News Service.

3 Responses to “Frank Schaefer defrocked by United Methodist officials”

  1. jules of Holy Toledo

    “Geez, that’s too bad…defrocked and humiliated….oh well, looks like it’s time to follow an old, well established, Christian tradition……that’s right folks, when the going gets tough….
    and you can’t seem to follow the rules……Eureka…..Just go out and start another brand new Christian Sect!” LOL

    so says….observer Jules…..with tongue in cheek…..

  2. Jan

    Since when should the flesh define the soul? God loves all his children. God is love.

  3. jules of Holy Toledo

    The CROWNING POINT of ALL CREATION

    Like the animal, man possesses
    the faculties of the senses, is
    subject to heat, cold, hunger,
    thirst, etc.; unlike the animal,
    man has a rational soul, the
    human intelligence.

    This intelligence of man is the
    intermediary between his body
    and his spirit.

    When man allows the spirit,
    through his soul, to enlighten
    his understanding, then does
    he contain all Creation; because
    man, being the culmination of
    all that went before and thus
    superior to all previous evolutions,
    contains all the lower world
    within himself. Illumined by the
    spirit through the instrumentality
    of the soul, man’s radiant
    intelligence makes him the
    crowning-point of Creation.

    Abdu’l-Baha
    Paris Talks
    p. 96

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