Top United Methodist Council Affirms Reinstatement of Minister Who Officiated Same-Sex ‘Wedding’
Christiannews.net | October 27, 2014
Citing procedural errors, a top United Methodist judicial council has affirmed the reinstatement of a Pennsylvania minister who was defrocked last year after he refused to neither repent for officiating a same-sex “marriage” or to relinquish his ministerial license over his rebellion against Church law.
As previously reported, Frank Schaefer, 51, who oversees Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, was found guilty in November of “conducting a ceremony that celebrates same-sex unions” and “disobedience to order and discipline of the Methodist Church.” In 2007, he traveled to Massachusetts to officiate a ceremony between his son Tim and Tim’s homosexual partner.
The United Methodist Book of Discipline outlines that “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching” and that “self-avowed practicing homosexuals” may not be ordained as ministers in the denomination. It also forbids ministers from hosting or participating in “ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions.”
Schaefer said that the knew what he was doing was against church law, but chose to proceed with the ceremony anyway.
“The love for my son took over the fear of losing my job with the United Methodist Church,” Schaefer told the Lebanon Daily News. “It was a tough decision in some sense, but I just knew I had to make it. I had to follow my heart.”
However, some in Schaefer’s church was not so supportive when they learned that their shepherd had officiated over the ceremony. One member, Jon Boger, filed a complaint with the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference just before the statute of limitations ran out, and Schaefer was ordered to stand trial.
During his church trial, Schaefer told a jury of thirteen United Methodist ministers that he would continue to advocate for homosexuality and wore a rainbow stole as a sign of his support.