Pastor defrocked after performing gay wedding

Pennsylvania preacher officiated son's wedding.
Associated Press
Dec 20, 2013


United Methodist church officials defrocked a pastor from central Pennsylvania on Thursday who violated religious doctrine by officiating his son's gay wedding, and he later said he was shocked by their decision, calling his involvement in the wedding an "act of love."

Frank Schaefer immediately appealed the penalty, which he believed was meted out reluctantly by many members of the regional Board of Ordained Ministry.

"So many of them came to me and they shook my hand and some hugged me, and so many of them had tears in their eyes," Schaefer said. "They said, 'We really don't want to do this, you know that, don't you?'"

John Coleman, a spokesman for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the denomination, said Schaefer left the board no choice after defying the order of a religious jury by refusing to resign.

"When asked to surrender his credentials as required by the verdict, he refused to do so," Coleman said. "Therefore, because of his decision, the board was compelled by the jury's decision to deem his credentials surrendered."

Schaefer has led a congregation in the central Pennsylvania town of Lebanon more than a decade. Earlier this year, a church member filed a complaint over Schaefer performing the 2007 wedding of his gay son in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions are legal.

Although the Methodist church accepts gay and lesbian members, it rejects the practice of homosexuality as "incompatible with Christian teaching."

Last month, a church jury suspended Schaefer for 30 days and said he should use the time to decide whether he could uphold the church's Book of Discipline. If he decided he could not, he was told to resign from the clergy by Thursday.

Schaefer said he told officials Thursday morning that he could not uphold a book that he feels is contradictory and biased against gay people.

He refused to voluntarily surrender his credentials when asked by the board president.

"To which she said, 'Well, we're taking them.' And that was the end of it." Schaefer said.

Later, he said, "I said to myself, 'You know, I just can't see them taking my credentials.' I mean what I did was an act of love for my son. And they did anyhow."

Although the Methodist church accepts gay and lesbian members, it rejects the practice of homosexuality as "incompatible with Christian teaching" and bars clergy from performing same-sex unions.

The issue has split the nation's largest mainline Protestant denomination amid a rapid shift in public opinion. Same-sex marriage will soon be legal in 16 states, and opinion polls show that a majority of Americans now support it. Hundreds of Methodist ministers have publicly rejected church doctrine on homosexuality, and some of them face discipline for presiding over same-sex unions. Last month, in a public challenge to church rules, a retired Methodist bishop officiated at a wedding for two men in Alabama.

Most other Protestant denominations have decided their position on the issue one way or another. But the Methodists, with about 7.7 million members in the U.S. and many more members overseas, remain divided. At their last national meeting in 2012, delegates reaffirmed the church's 40-year-old policy on gays.




What? No quote from GLADD? Nah, you won't see one. Like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton they only come out of hiding when it is likely to give them publicity.


Since you and your friends are so worried about sharpton and Jackson and blacks why don't you do something for whites instead of be a$$holes all the time. I guess you guys are to coward to. Give it a rest already they still do more for whites than you do.

oldfoxbob's picture

I love your name tell us so much about you. That your a Neanderthal, cave man, so stupid you cant stand up right, your lead around by the ring in your nose. You believe any thing that is in a book that tells you about a mythical being. But then dont allow any one else to have an opinion. Really an appropriate name for you.


I'll put my credentials up against your GED anytime you wish. As for not allowing anyone an opinion, talk about hypocrisy. The whole premise of modern day gay rights activism is to squash any and all dissenting opinion. I guess it would surprise you to know that I actually have no problem with allowing gays to marry, however I am rabidly against the idea that a dissenting opinion should be squashed by all means necessary in order to achieve an objective.


homosexuality is incompatible with christian teaching so there is no way that you can be gay and a christian and there is no way that a christian can practice tolerance because they reject the whole idea of homosexuality. all of this is based on one or two passages from the bible, a book that promotes violence against women. wouldn't that be hypocritical?


Unassumer, you are inaccurate in your info about the Bible promoting violence against women, if that is your statement. You should read the whole bible and you would understand that quite often in the bible, women are held to some of the highest regards take Ruth, Naomi, Mary Magdaline, Deborah, Rachel and many more. Your inaccuracies show your lack of knowledge for the Word. Sorry, but facts are facts. Not including the women at the well whom Jesus offered living water. May you be blessed.

oldfoxbob's picture

Really? Try reading these then if you think the bible likes women. : Leviticus 21;9 Burn the daughter, Leviticus 12;5, Penalty for having a baby thats a girl. Deuteronomy 25;11-12, Cut off her hands. 1 Corinthians 11;3, Female inferiority. Exodus 2;18-20 Kill the witch. Judges 24;19-25 Rape your own daughters. Timothy 2;11-14 Silence the women. Deuteronomy 2;24 Stone women to death. Deuteronomy 2;28-29 How much a Virgin is worth. Ephesians 5;22-24 Wives submit your selves. Hosea 13;16, Rip up the pregnant. Eccles 25;2 Women are wicked. Never argue with an atheist, we HAVE read the bible and that is why we dont believe in some bronze age book of fairy tails, condoning slavery rape, incest, and murder.


Taking a few words of a passage put of context is dishonest and is easily debunked. Google the actual passages and you will begin your journey to The Forgiver.
May God Bless your journey to Salvation.


The old testament was superceded by the New Testment after the birth of Christ. So, using the old testament to prop up your interpretation of Christian beliefs is a fallacy. No if you were applying it to Judaism...


You are obviously not a Christian, so don't act like you know what you are talking about. Probably just another liberal fired up about what Phil said, taking things out of context.
The bible teaches that homosexuality is wrong. So is getting drunk, cheating on your wife, stealing, killing, coveting your neighbors goods. However if you study the bible, it also teaches to love the sinner and hate the sin. Judging is God's job, not ours.
A true Christian, like Phil, speaks the Bible, and if you would read his full article, he says it's not his place to judge, and the world would be a better place if we'd all just love each other.
As for your "tolerence" opinion, that is a liberal word to make everyone feel better about what they are doing, right or wrong. As an ordained minister, it is wrong for him to openly promote sin. This would be viewed no differently than him getting drunk on Friday night and getting a DUI. A preacher that is called of God to lead people, lives the Bible.

oldfoxbob's picture

In what context does a 969 year old human being make sense to you? In what context does Baalam's talking donkey make sense to you? In what context does the plunging of swords into the beating hearts of babies make sense to you? In what sense did Jesus who loved the world so much That he kept the knowledge of his salvation secret from the entire western hemisphere until 1492? You seem to believe in traditional bibical marriage. One man and his sister, or dead brothers wife, or one woman and her servants ( thats slaves to the ignorant). One man and his rape victim. One man and MANY women. One man and 700 women and 300 concubines ( yep its in there) One soldier and his virgin prisoners. Just not one man and one that would be immoral wouldn't it.


The last books of the Bible were written around 90 AD. By the way, that AD does stand for After Death and the BC stands for...Before Christ? I guess it's all a myth.

If you are going to start throwing around rational arguments:
Man came from Monkeys?
The perfect atmosphere of the Earth came from a "Big Bang"
The shifting of all continents is real "Panagea", but humans are causing the sea levels to rise.
Homosexuality is natural, but yet the laws of nature prohibit them from procreating? There's some evolution for you.


AD stands for Anno Domini, Latin for "Year of our Lord."

Don't spout off on things you don't know.


In liberalism "tolerance" is an oxymoron. Their tolerance only extends to the point where another agrees with them. If you disagree, well...we all know what happens then.


To liberals, "diversity" means everyone looks different, but thinks the same.

I heard an interview with this minister. He offered no scriptural, theological, or other arguments for his position. His entire justification was "this rule makes someone feel bad, so I reject it."

Typically, so-called Christians who reject traditional Christian sexual morality fall into one of two categories - those who claim to believe in God but who deny God any authority to prohibit any sort of sexual conduct, and those who refuse to accept that God might forbid people to do something they really, really want to do. Both approaches essentially involve placing oneself in higher authority than God, which is incompatible with any rational concept of God. They need to be honest with themselves and accept that they are, at best, agnostics.


BooHoo move on.

Kottage Kat

2007???? Really


He broke the rules, so now he has to answer for his actions!!

thinkagain's picture

Congratulations oldfoxbob, you are the most ignorant, biblical illiterate I have seen on this site. Your lack of understanding is truly a sight to behold.

Like KnuckleDragger said, Old Testament law was given to the nation of Israel, not to Christians. Some of the laws were to reveal to the Israelites how to obey and please God (the Ten Commandments, for example). Some of the laws were to show the Israelites how to atone for sin (the sacrificial system). Some of the laws were intended to make Israel distinct from other nations (the food and clothing rules). When Jesus died on the cross, He ended the law and now righteousness is available to everyone that believes. (Romans 10:4; Galatians 3:23-25; Ephesians 2:15).

The OT shows the need for a savior.

Kottage Kat

Why wait so long to complain??
Jews and Gentiles
GOD is GOD, And I am not. Quite simple actually.
MERRY CHRISTMAS Commentors one and ALL.