Rev. Frank Schaefer (pictured) made national headlines last November when he was put on “trial” for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding ceremony. Now, the church has decided that, actually, never mind, Schaefer can still be a pastor. They were wrong. Sorry about all that. Let’s forget it ever happened and move on, shall we?
The scandalous wedding ceremony took place in Massachusetts back in 2007 and was between Schaefer’s son, Tim, and his male partner. Last fall, Schaefer was found “guilty” of violating church law by presiding over the wedding. As a result, he was given an ultimatum: Repent and vow to never again perform another same-sex marriage ceremony, or surrender his minister’s credentials and be defrocked.
He chose to be defrocked.
In June of this year, Schaefer was offered another job by a Methodist bishop in California and was “re-frocked.” He now serves a ministry in Santa Barbara. Today, the church’s top court announced it plans to uphold the decision to reinstate Schaefer’s ministerial credentials.
In a statement, the council said: “The Judicial Council upon careful review of the decision of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals in the matter of the Rev Frank Schaefer and the questions of law presented by the counsel for the church finds there are no errors in the application of the church law and judicial decision. The penalty as modified by the Committee on Appeals stands.”
Schaefer said: “Today, we are witnessing a small, but significant step toward taking another look at the exclusionary policies of The United Methodist Church. The UM Church needs to find a way toward reconciliation, full inclusion of our LGBTQ community and an open altar for all God’s beloved children. I will continue the fight alongside thousands of others in the reconciling movement for full inclusion and an open altar for all.”