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United Methodist Church defrocks the Rev. Frank Schaeffer

United Methodist Church defrocks the Rev. Frank Schaeffer

UPDATED: from the UMC news

“Rev. Schaefer met with the Board of Ordained Ministry today and declared that he is not willing or able to uphold the laws of the Book of Discipline in its entirety in the future as required by the trial court’s verdict,” said Bishop Peggy Johnson, Episcopal leader of the conference.


Johnson said when asked to surrender his credentials, Schaefer refused to do so. The board then deemed his credentials surrendered, she said.

In an interview with United Methodist News Service after Schaefer’s news conference Dec. 16, Johnson said, “My overall feeling is that this is very sad. I can’t believe we have been on this journey for nothing. Somewhere God is going to use all the hearts and efforts for some good purpose down the line. This is the God we serve. It is Good Friday and Easter Sunday. We got the Good Friday so come on Easter. I know it is Christmas but we are Easter people.”

The United Methodist Church today defrocked the Rev. Frank Schaefer, who refused to surrender his ministry after officiating at his son’s gay wedding. From the Washington Post:

A United Methodist pastor who criticized his denomination’s doctrine as contradictory and prejudiced against gays and lesbians was stripped Thursday of his credentials for officiating the wedding of his son to another man.

A church jury last month found Frank Schaefer, who had been pastor of a small country church in Lebanon, Pa., guilty of violating United Methodist law by doing the 2007 wedding and also of disobedience. He was given 30 days to decide if he could fully comply with the denomination’s Book of Discipline, or doctrine book.

Schaefer said at the time of the trial and then again before a clergy oversight board Thursday that he could not uphold a book he sees as sending mixed messages on acceptance of gays and lesbians. Schaefer, who has three gay children, said he wants to become a public advocate for gay equality in the church.

Read full story here.

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Jean Lall

I find this heartbreaking, having been brought up in the Methodist Church at a time when that meant being out in front of movements for social justice. As an undergraduate at Southern Methodist University (1959-63) I read 'Motive' (thank you for that reminder, Paul Woodrum!) which spoke up strongly on the justice issues of the day. I was active in the Methodist Student Movement and took part in civil rights actions on and off campus. As the movement for desegregation and racial justice in Dallas took shape, substantial leadership came from the students and faculty at our seminary (Perkins) and law school.

We Episcopalians could be in the same boat if (1) we had not realized what the IRD was up to, and (2) our General Convention included substantial voting representation from other countries with more conservative and repressive views on sexuality.

It is a tragic situation that above all warrants our prayers.

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Paul Woodrum

Ironically, while an undergraduate,it was in the United Methodist publication, "Motive" that I read my first positive article about gay people and a call to stop discrimination against them. For radical articles like this, the Methodist Publishing House discontinued the magazine. Those of us who saw the writing on the wall (as well as experienced Episcopal Eucharistic worship and the BCP) fled back to holy mother Anglicana. The door is still open for returning sheep.

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Matthew Buterbaugh+

This is kind of disappointing, especially considering the wonderful and open-minded UMC friends I have. The sad part is, while they were upholding the Book of Discipline, it's incredibly short-sighted. In ten years from now, the UMC will probably issue a too-late-to-matter apology for this. I'm just surprised they didn't go the route of, yes he broke the rules and give him a slap on the wrist kind of punishment. At least then they could say they didn't break the Book of Discipline and save face at the same time.

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Clint Davis

I wonder if there is a way the Episcopal Church could reach out to disaffected Methodists, perhaps assisting to form a Methodist connexion in this country that is somehow in relationship to us, like they used to be in the beginning? I have no idea what that would look like, how it would work, or if it's even possible, but I'm just throwing the idea out there. Maybe even the relationship would be temporary until the Connexion really got off the ground, again, like the old days.

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Leslie Scoopmire

They may have taken away his credentials but not his standing as a man of God or as a father (in both meanings of the term).

And I second what Jonah said.

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