Reverend Frank Schaefer says his reinstatement by the Methodist Church “brings a lot of hope” to the LGBTQ community in the Methodist Church.
Reverend Schaefer was defrocked last November for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding, after saying that he would not let Church doctrine stop him from officiating same-sex weddings in the future, if asked.
He has now been fully re-instated and assigned to a new congregation, but the decision has deepened the divide over same-sex and gender issues in the Methodist Church.
The United Methodist Church accepts gay and lesbian members, but bars clergy from officiating same-sex marriages because the Book of Discipline, the ruling Methodist doctrine, calls the practice of homosexuality, “incompatible with Christian teaching.”
Reverend Schaefer discusses the matter with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson.
- Defrocking Opens Deep Divide Among Methodists (Dec 2013)
- Same-Sex Marriage Roils Methodist Church (Nov 2013)
Interview Highlights: Frank Schaefer
On what the reinstatement signifies
“I was very clear throughout my trial and in the aftermath that I would not promise not to perform another gay wedding. Even in spite of that fact, this appeals committee has reinstated me. I think it brings a lot of hope to our LGBTQ brothers and sisters.”
On the change from the defrocking to reinstatment
“Throughout my trial I felt like I never had my day in court. I was not allowed to argue with one portion of our book of discipline against another. I wasn’t even allowed any witnesses on day one when it was about finding innocence and guilt. And even when it came to the penalty on the second day, the frocking part was not based on what I had done, the wedding for my gay son. It was about a promise I could not make. So we have all along argued, ‘Please stick with our rules, with the laws of the United Methodist Church.’ I felt like there was one injustice done after another and so with this ruling, finally, we actually have a committee that has delivered justice.”
- Frank Schaefer, pastor who has been reinstated by the United Methodist church.