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Calif. Methodist bishop offers job to Pa. pastor defrocked over gay son’s wedding

Sunday, December 22, 2013

PHILADELPHIA — A United Methodist pastor from central Pennsylvania who was defrocked after officiating his son’s gay wedding was invited by a California Methodist bishop to serve in her region in yet another sign of a split in the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination.

Frank Schaefer said he is deciding whether to accept the offer from Bishop Minerva G. Carcano to join the California-Pacific Annual Conference. The region includes California, Hawaii, and the Pacific Islands.

“I’m actually leaning toward it right now, but I can’t make that decision myself because it involves my entire family,” Schaefer said. “We are considering it very, very seriously.”

Carcano does not have the authority to restore Schaefer’s ministerial credentials but he said he would have most of the same rights and responsibilities as an ordained minister. Schaefer said it would not be a tenured appointment, unlike ordained ministers, and he would be paid less.

Schaefer has led a congregation in the town of Lebanon for 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.

A church jury suspended him for 30 days last month and told him to decide whether he would uphold the church’s Book of Discipline or resign. Schaefer refused to surrender his credentials and the church’s Board of Ordained Ministry defrocked him. He appealed the board’s decision on Friday.

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

Schaefer said that he has never met Carcano and first spoke to her when she called to offer him the position on Friday.

“It was such a feeling of welcome I sensed from her and just understanding and comfort,” he said. “For somebody like her, a bishop, to reach out to me and say, ‘you know what you did was absolutely right and we are proud of you,’ it just felt great.”

Carcano said in a statement on the California-Pacific Annual Conference’s website that the church’s position on homosexuality is wrong. Although the church accepts gay and lesbian members, it rejects homosexual acts as “incompatible with Christian teaching” and bars clergy from performing same-sex unions.

“I believe that the time has come for we United Methodists to stand on the side of Jesus and declare in every good way that the United Methodist Church is wrong in its position on homosexuality, wrong in its exclusion of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, and wrong in its incessant demand to determine through political processes who can be fully members of the body of Christ,” Carcano wrote.

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

Yet hundreds of Methodist ministers have publicly rejected the doctrine, and some 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.

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72 more reader comments:

  1. FAB!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:03pm
  2. See there are some ( very few) churches that love everyone and not total judgemental hippocrates…

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:03pm
  3. GOOD!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:04pm
  4. fantastic news :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:05pm
  5. That’s really great!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:05pm
  6. Sad this happened, as the priest in question only violated church doctrine, not the law. However I maintain that both he and the church have freedom of speech. He exercised his right by officiating a same sex wedding. I am happy he did that. The church felt the pathetic need to retaliate, by excommunicating him. I think that was a pathetic and bigoted decision. But it was their right.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:05pm
  7. But I’m glad the priest in California is reaching out to the pastor.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:06pm
  8. I thought he wasn’t defrocked, but put on leave without pay for a period….so much flack from the public that they didn’t defrock. Or, am I misinformed, again?? Blame WCQS, if so…and NPR.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:08pm
  9. he was suspended 30 days, then defrocked last week.

    Replied on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:18pm
  10. Thank you for the update, Randy Petersen. We have no television and limited satellite, so am sometimes behind the times. I hope he finds a church that values his ideals, which are that of Love.

    Replied on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:08pm
  11. Excellent !

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:08pm
  12. That’s wonderful my father would have been proud of this minister! He too fought for the rights of women in the 70′s and later helped his friends in the LGBT community find their true selves. Had he lived today he would have been so proud to perform weddings for our dear friends!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:08pm
  13. Amen GOD is good, this should prove were suppose to love everyone despite our personal feelings

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:11pm
  14. Thank you, Bishop Carcano. You give me hope that all is not yet lost for the UMC.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:13pm
  15. Awwww……A man stood up for his loving belief….and I hope this works out for him and his family.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:13pm
  16. Another reason I believe organized religion are cults. I was Christianed Methodist, wonder how I get out of that?

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:15pm
  17. I am so glad he has been encouraged both inside and outside the UMC. Time is on his side of history and it will only be a matter of time before that is proven. Love to be able in a few years tell the UMC: I TOLD YOU SO!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:15pm
  18. I was hoping he would be offered a new job. I hope he thinks about taking it.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:16pm
  19. Yay! My state always does the right thing!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:16pm
  20. We will gladly take him!!!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:17pm
  21. When 1 door closed The Lord opens another

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:18pm
  22. Exactly!

    Replied on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:24pm
  23. Defrocked. I love that word.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:19pm
  24. I am sad at what the denomination that I was raised in has done. I won’t renounce my faith in the Church, simply try to start a letter writing campaign to change this doctrine!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:27pm
  25. That’s why I don’t go to church. Politics are into to much

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:30pm
  26. What a good dad. <3

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:31pm
  27. Yay! I hope they snatched this guy up.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:39pm
  28. When you join the UMC you promise to uphold it with your prayers, your presence, your gifts, & your service. I decided recently that since the church will not support me by allowing me to participate in all of its sacraments, I could no longer support the church with the 2 P’s, the G, or my service. As a life long member of the UMC it was a sad decision, but until the delegates of the General Conference change the discipline I can’t support the church.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:41pm
  29. Wonderful news.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:49pm
  30. Actions like these restore people’s faith in the church! :) Awesome!!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 4:57pm
  31. Now that’s what I call Christian

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:03pm
  32. See just how God works for such a good man!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:11pm
  33. Brava to this bishop. Any church that preaches hatred and discrimination will ultimately die. It may take centuries, but it is inevitable. The human race can only progress through love and inclusion.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:18pm
  34. allright, wonderful news.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:21pm
  35. To Pastor Schaefer, thank you for taking a stand against the rediculus views of the church. I stopped attending the church when they started telling us as individuals what to believe. As some one stated above, when God closes a door, he opens a window. Just know that this former Methodist church member supports you and your belief that God loves everyone regardless of sexual orientation.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:31pm
  36. Ibelieve he did what was right

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:38pm
  37. he had the right to marry his son and his sons partner

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:39pm
  38. Seriously, I hope this Pastor takes the job. At least he will be supported by the CA.Bishop instead of thrown under the bus.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:43pm
  39. You gals have a nation? Lol

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:51pm
  40. A truly enlightened mystic

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:51pm
  41. The halo above his Head seems a bit ridiculous…still, nice that he received a job offer

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 5:55pm
  42. Hope he takes it.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6:01pm
  43. WELL DONE!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6:02pm
  44. That is great news and he deserves to continue being a pastor and I don’t think that he done anything wrong.he done something great for his son and his son partner

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6:06pm
  45. great news! Love is love, no matter who you are!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6:09pm
  46. A true Christian jesture….

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6:13pm
  47. Someone with Love & Sanity! LOL

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6:25pm
  48. That’s what it’s all about. Thank you, Bishop Carcano.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6:33pm
  49. Cali welcomes this wonderful man with open arms. One more reason I love that State ..

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6:35pm
  50. This is so ridiculous you have no idea…or maybe you do?

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6:42pm
  51. There’s a Christian action for you

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 6:56pm
  52. yes indeed,,congrads

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 7:06pm
  53. Frank Schaefer is a true ‘HERO” For Standing up against Hate and Bigotry for his beautiful son’s wedding and help us gay people that are fighting for equal rights in America. If one person can make a change we all will live free against religious hate and violence that comes with bigotry.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 7:26pm
  54. Brilliant.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 7:40pm
  55. How wonderful.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 7:52pm
  56. and there are people everywhere would would gladly let this man be their spiritual guide.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:16pm
  57. Just know that both Pastors are loved by us! Awesome!

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 8:41pm
  58. yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! god was on his side

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:30pm
  59. Loves

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 9:41pm
  60. God Bless THAT Bishop for his compassion and good sense.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:58pm
  61. About time the Methodist church supports LGBT. now the Methodist church should have same sex marriage in their churches

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 10:58pm
  62. And once again, good triumphs over evil. :)

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 11:33pm
  63. Nice to know there are some real Christians left in the Methodist Church.

    Posted on Sunday, December 22, 2013 at 11:42pm
  64. Fun!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:00am
  65. Good on ‘em hooray!!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:08am
  66. As a Methodist myself, I was babtized as a child, I am so dissapointed in the Church and I am thinking of having them remove my name from their membership.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:31am
  67. Im a PAGAN anyway!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 12:31am
  68. Yeaaaaaaaaa!!!!!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 1:18am
  69. And the truth shall set you free.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 2:01am
  70. Glad to hear it.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 2:20am
  71. Awesome!!!!!

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 2:26am
  72. I said join another church. You are wanted. Go where you are wanted and appreciated.

    Posted on Monday, December 23, 2013 at 2:42am