United Methodist Minister Who Officiated ‘Gay Wedding’ Refuses to Repent, Give Up Credentials

schaeffer fbPHILADELPHIA — A United Methodist minister from Pennsylvania is refusing to give up his credentials after he was ordered last month to repent of officiating same-sex ‘weddings’ within 30 days or relinquish his rights to pastor within the denomination.

As previously reported, Frank Schaefer, 51, who oversees Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, was found guilty on 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.

Last month, 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.

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“I cannot go back to being silent,” he said. “I am now an advocate for LGBT people in the world and in the Church.”

At the end of the three-day trial, Schaefer was found guilty and given the ultimatum of repenting of his actions within 30 days or turning in his credentials.

But on Monday, at a press conference at Arch Street United Methodist Church in Philadelphia, Schaefer told those gathered that he will not be relinquishing his ministerial license voluntarily. Approximately 50 others, including fellow United Methodist ministers, stood with Schaefer in solidarity.

“I cannot voluntarily surrender my credentials because I am a voice now for many of the tens of thousands of LGBT members in our church,” he stated. “I have received hundreds of petitions from LGBT members, colleagues, and even three bishops, not to surrender my credentials.”

“I just can’t surrender my credentials,” he continued. “I know it sounds rebellious, but it isn’t. I have to do what God wants me to do.”

But some have stated that supporting sexual behavior between those of the same gender is not what God wants from Shaefer—or any pastor.

“His work against the Word of God is something that will haunt him all the days of his life,” one commenter wrote. “Unfortunately if he is not defrocked, he will be a stumbling block to those he ministers to, because he’s leading the sheep down the wrong path to destruction.”

Shaefer is scheduled to meet with Church officials on Thursday. He states that he is unsure of his fate, but notes that he has received invitations from the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church to join their denomination if defrocked.


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  • Mary Waterton

    5th paragraph: “It was a tough decision in some sense, but I just knew I had to make it. I had to follow my heart.”

    “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

    • http://joseph-a-nagy-jr.us Joseph Nagy Jr

      Too many ignore that in the name of ‘love’. Too bad they have been deceived. ): What they are doing isn’t out of love, but out of disobedience.

  • Sir Tainly

    Well….at least the man seems to have known in advance that the reaction to his officiating would be adverse.

    He seems pretty stubborn too, but at least that is consistent with what his choice will probably cost him.

  • coram Deo

    Mary you typed the exact thing I was thinking too. Same Scripture, same thought. If this minister truly loves his son he would tell him the truth…because the Truth will set him free from the sin of homosexuality. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit not to be defiled by licentious behavior of any kind. We break faith with even the thought of sexual immorality.

    In the bigger picture of things the acceptance of homosexuality within “a church/denomination” is part of the coming apostasy that is foretold in Scripture in the time of the end and is just one more birth pang of the Messiah’s soon return. All the more to be praying for our unsaved loved ones and those caught in such besetting sins. Our God is mighty to save those who completely surrender to His Lordship.

    There is a wonderful book by Christopher Yuan, who is an author, speaker and Bible teacher called “Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son’s Journey to God, A Broken Mother’s Search for Hope”, it’s his story of being set free from the gay lifestyle and impulses. He is an advocate for those trapped in this sin. It’s a great read.

  • http://www.4simpsons.wordpress.com eMatters

    The UMC is reaping what it sowed. This guy is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Oddly enough, he finally told the truth about lying at his ordination vows. They should clean house of people like him.

  • Mark

    God loved his son Jesus so much he gave him Cross to die for the soon-to-be defrocked minster’s sin. This is REAL LOVE over any love a human father can give his human son.

    • http://none Ebrima Bah

      Mr Schaefer simply do not have the love of God at heart. He loves his son more than he does God! He is not better than what the Lord says in Mat. 6:24-25. He has the audacity to exchange God for his son! I’m so surprised. In Hebrews 11, the Bible tells us that by faith Abraham gave his son to the Lord as sacrifice. John 3:16 says that for God so loved the world (man) and not for God so loved His son; He gave his son in order to cleanse us from sin.

      This man needs deliverance, he is been taken away by the devil. Those that are encouraging him are just like him, they have all missed the truth!

  • http://christiannews.net aln st

    This man has shown his heart in that he loves his son more than he loves Christ. This will have serious reprocussions for both men. One should never make an idol of thier child. The church needs to cut him loose and allow the Lord to straighten him out.

  • Karate Kathleen

    This man knew ahead of time what the rules of the church he agreed to work for was, what the rules of his licensure for being a minister was. He agreed to those rules and then made a choice not only to break his word and go against them, but to do so in a disrespectful “in your face” kind of way. This is wrong. He should have resigned ahead of time instead of suddenly demanding the rules be changed for him. When he says he is now a voice for the gay & lesbian community I would ask him this, “But you first promised to preach and hold to the word of God. What about this promise? Are these people more important to you than God?” And “Have you ever thought the reason so many of your kids are gay is because they are under demonic influences that you as a father and pastor should be praying against instead of supporting?”

  • It’s Wrong

    Isaiah 5:20 (KJV)
    Proverbs 17:13 (KJV)
    Psalm 18:24-27 (KJV)
    Psalm 101:3-5 (KJV)
    Psalm 2:4 (KJV)
    Galatians 6:7 (KJV)
    Romans 1:26-32 (KJV)

  • Amarachukwu Florence Nnamani

    Abomination!!, Heresy!! GOD created Adam & Eve NOT Adam & Steve. And NOT Eve & Evelyn. For a minister that claims to GOD’S to join same sex in marriage is outright DISOBIDIENCE. Pls let’s stop toying with sin because nothing inpure will enter the kingdom of GOD.

  • Brad

    Bravo. Someone who lives the family values that other X’ians rant about.