United Methodist pastor defrocked over same-sex wedding

Here is a story from the L.A. Times about The Rev. Frank Schaefer, a pastor from Pennsylvania who had refused to comply with the church’s law barring gay marriage. He plans to appeal the decision by the elders to “defrock” him for officiating his son’s homosexual marriage ceremony.


Frank Schaefer

Former United Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer embraces the Rev. Lorelei Toombs during a news conference after the church announced its decision to defrock Schaefer for performing a same-sex marriage. (Matt Rourke / Associated Press / December 19, 2013)

By Tina SusmanDecember 19, 2013, 7:13 p.m.

NEW YORK — Frank Schaefer had prepared for the worst, but his voice shook Thursday as he described how it felt to be defrocked by the United Methodist Church after he refused to comply with its law against same-sex marriage.

“I guess I took it harder than I thought I would,” Schaefer said shortly after a private meeting in which church officials demanded that the pastor from Lebanon, Pa., surrender his credentials. “I was prepared for it, but it’s traumatic.”

Schaefer, who officiated at his son’s marriage to another man in 2007, appealed, setting the stage for a drawn-out battle over an issue that has put the United Methodist Church at odds with some of its clergy and with public attitudes toward same-sex marriage.

As Schaefer was being defrocked Thursday, New Mexico was becoming the latest state in the country to permit same-sex marriage. Seventeen states and the District of Columbia now recognize gay marriage, and Americans who accept it have increased from 35% in 2001 to about 50% now, according to the Pew Research Center.

But the United Methodist Church’s Book of Discipline does not, and clergy who are openly gay or who perform gay weddings are violating church law. Schaefer, 52, said he could not abide by a law “that is hurtful and harmful.”

In a statement, Bishop Peggy A. Johnson of the United Methodist Church’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference said Schaefer’s actions left church officials no choice but to oust him after 17 years as an ordained minister.

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9 Responses to “United Methodist pastor defrocked over same-sex wedding”

  1. MsAmericanPatriot #

    He should have disowned his son or tell his son how he was giving into his sinful nature and was turning his back on Christ. The father was a false prophet for officiating the union. The Bible is clear on homosexuality. We need to start hating on this sin even more because it leads to even worse sin. I do NOT think God plans on apologizing to Lot for what he did.

    December 20, 2013 at 8:45 am
    • David #

      I disagree with the first part of your comment. He should NOT disown his son. If his son is gay he needs to continue to love him yet not affirm his gay lifestyle. If your son moved in with his girlfriend outside of marriage would you disown him? I do agree that the father affirming his son’s same sex relationship is wrong.

      December 20, 2013 at 1:00 pm
      • MsAmericanPatriot #

        It is called tough love. If I had children they would be raised with the EXACT same morals and values I was raised with and NO exceptions allowed. That was how I was raised in the BIBLE BELT.

        December 20, 2013 at 4:54 pm
      • Bodey043 #

        You need to understand that the woman known as msamericanpatriot believes she is the daughter of an archangel.

        December 21, 2013 at 9:33 am
  2. Nancy Mantz #


    December 20, 2013 at 9:39 am
  3. Laura #

    I have to say that I am genuinely surprised that this is happening in the United Methodist Church. Liberalism has permeated that denomination so much in recent years, I am shocked that they aren’t out front in supporting gay marriage. We went to a UMC when I was a child and I wrestled with a lot of the “values” they were teaching us as teens. It wasn’t until many years later that I found out that my problems were due to this change in attitude and approach, which conflicted with the values that I was learning/seeing/living at home with my parents AND of course the teachings of the Bible.Glad to see the United Methodist Church take this stand and I am praying that they put away those liberal ideas and get back to the Word of God.

    December 20, 2013 at 9:45 am
    • MsAmericanPatriot #

      I was raised in the United Methodist Church but dropped out right when all this liberal mindset took root.

      December 20, 2013 at 4:52 pm
  4. James #

    It is time that those Christians with strong convictions take a stand and fight against these degrading acts of sin. People want Christians to apologize for their thoughts, but God sure won’t be apologizing for His thoughts on Judgement Day. Then it will be too late for these ones to change their minds and know they rejected that which Jesus Christ died for on Calvary.
    There are too many trying to make the Bible change to fit into all activities in this day and age, but the Bible states that God is the Same Yesterday, today and forever. This goes against all societies thoughts and sadly, this is happening in the churches more and more everyday by leaders who do not know what the Bible really says.

    December 20, 2013 at 12:05 pm
  5. Marie #

    The church has already embraced and supported divorce and remarriage, with some even multiple marriages and the system has for the most part remained silent, yet castigates homosexuality. And there are many within the church system who work their way into heterosexual marriages seeking to destroy what God has put asunder…..and there is no purging of the conscience, thus no conviction of sin/wrong doing.

    Homosexuality is a sin……and so is destroying legitimate marriages……it is time for church attendees to wake up, support the marriages within the church and dedicate a portion of their prayer time to praying for those souls who are in sexually immoral relationships…..homosexuals, adulterers, fornicators, those who are lusting in their minds after others, etc.

    We now live in a time where their is no sadness, grief, nor shame over divorce, especially within the body of Christ, and yet, we puff out our chests, look haughtily over those wicked homosexuals and lesbians, mock them with our tongues-verbal slurs and other inappropriate language, we roll our eyeballs at them or look with disgust at their being, and we separate ourselves from them believing we are doing what Jesus called us to do………homosexuality is the easiest of targets to take our eyes off of the sexual sins in our own households.

    And how many Christians do you know that watch inappropriate acts on television, computers, or the movies! The numbers are legion!

    And yet, there is hope……for I have seen humble born again believers dust off their shoes and share the Gospel of Jesus Christ in love with the sexually immoral community of our day, including homosexuals and divorcees. If we are the congregation of Jesus Christ, why aren’t we praying for God to work in marriages, why aren’t we praying for relationships to be healed and restored, and why aren’t we praying for the sexually immoral community?


    Please join me in prayer for all of those struggling with the sexual sins, whether in the mind or the act of the body, for the mission field of this kind is great here in our country. Jesus came to set the captives free!

    December 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm