Midstate pastor to fight suspension over same-sex marriage

Written by Tim Lambert and Emma Jacobs/WHYY | Dec 16, 2013 4:12 PM

Photo by Associated Press

(Philadelphia) -- The midstate United Methodist pastor who was disciplined for officiating at his gay son's wedding in 2007 says he will not agree to surrender his credentials voluntarily.

The Reverend Frank Schaefer of North Cornwall Township, Lebanon County, says he cannot adhere to the condition for his reinstatement at the end of a 30-day suspension.

After a church trial last month, the reverend was suspended for 30 days and told to give up his credentials if he can't agree to abide by the book of discipline.

But Schaeffer says he will not follow the United Methodist Church's order in its entirety.

"I cannot uphold those discriminatory laws and the language in the Methodist Church's book of discipline that is hurtful and harmful to our homosexual brothers and sisters in the church," he says.

Thumbnail image for frank_schaeffer2.jpg

Photo by The Associated Press

Schaeffer is raising the stakes for his appearance before the Methodist board of ordained ministers Thursday.

"I cannot voluntarily surrender my credentials because I am a voice now for many, for tens of thousands of LGBT members in our church," he says.

Northeastern Bishop Peggy Johnson says she cannot respond before the meeting takes place, but acknowledges the denomination is in turmoil over the issue.

The United Methodist Church accepts gay and lesbian members, but they are not allowed to be ordained and the church prohibits same-sex marriages.

If the church does expel Schaefer, he says he would consider joining a different denomination.



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