Rev. Frank Schaefer was suspended for performing his son’s same-sex marriage. The Council for the Methodist Church imposed the suspension after finding Schaefer guilty of disobeying United Methodist teachings.
Methodist ministers are prohibited from officiating at same-sex weddings. Council member Christopher Fischer said Schaefer violated rules set forth in the Book of Discipline.
As reported by Lebanon Daily, the jury was composed of 13 Methodist ministers. They were presented with evidence that Schaefer officiated his son’s marriage to another man. The wedding took place in 2007.
The minister said the wedding was “a small family affair in a very private location.” While he did not discuss the marriage with his congregation, he did notify the district superintendent.
The jury found the minister guilty and imposed a 30 day suspension as discipline. If he violates the suspension, he will be asked to forfeit his ministerial credentials. In addition to the suspension, Schaefer was asked to stop ministering to the LGBT community.
According to CNN, the suspended minister was offered a chance to repent for his behavior, but he declined.
Rev. Frank Schaefer said the church’s teachings are against everything God stands for:
“We must stop harming beloved children of God in the name of Christ. That is not what Christ asked us to do. He asked us to love our neighbor. He asked us to love and care for our neighbor, and that’s what I’m here to do.”
The minister has led the Zion United Methodist Church of Iona, Pennsylvania, for nearly 11 years. Although he received a lot of support for his stance, members of his congregation are conflicted. While many agree with Schaefer’s message of tolerance, others are concerned that he is defying the church’s teachings.
Rev. Frank Schaefer said he knew he was violating the Methodist Book of Discipline, but he was motivated by love for his son.
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