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Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Reinstated Methodist Pastor: ‘I Will Never Be Silent Again On LGBTQ Issues’

Former United Methodist pastor Frank Schaefer speaks with reporters after a news conference, Thursday, Dec. 19, 2013, at First United Methodist Church of Germantown in Philadelphia. (Matt Rourke/AP)

Frank Schaefer, pictured here on Dec. 19, 2013, has been reinstated as a United Methodist pastor. (Matt Rourke/AP)

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.

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.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
  • Rick

    Thanks for having someone else on from the Methodist Church to explain their position and counter the opinion of your guest. Oh wait, you didn’t. Again.

  • David Kimball

    These churches are so successful at marginalizing themselves. What young person would even think of becoming a member of a church which insists on these archaic, non-loving issues?

    • Individual

      Why join a church that has those rules for that matter? Why not join the churches that allow same sex marriage? Where is this communist pressure for sameness coming from? And so prevalent? We want to eliminate discrimination with more discrimination-just from the opposite side! There are also churches that have their own manuscripts, that do not follow nor believe the Bible as the Word of God-all 66 books! For centuries we have tried to get rid of the Bible- I say good luck! Rip off all the pages that are opposed to our depravities as human beings, still the Word of God is eternal, we can bury our heads in the sand and pretend that it is not there! You can run from truth and add all the letters of the alphabet to try to redefine man or woman, only in the identity that God has given us we will find true peace and acceptance.

  • Karen

    Congratulations to Rev. Schaefer, once defrocked and now refrocked. My husband and I left the Methodist Church 30 years ago for the more progressive and inclusive Unitarian Church where, in the case of marriage and other things, we are all created equal.

    • it_disqus

      Do you only church surf christian religions? If not, you should look into Taoism.

  • it_disqus

    Why is the Q added to LGBT? What does it cover that the other four letters don’t?

    • Rick

      Pretty soon NPR will stay using the more politically correct acronym, LGBTQIA.
      Hope I didn’t leave any letters out.

  • http://thesidos.blogspot.com/ Arthur Sido

    “I will never be silent again….” When has this particular publicity hound ever been silent about anything?

  • J__o__h__n

    Even when I agree with them, I wish religious leaders would stay out of politics. Myths have no place in making public policy.

  • bikdav

    What Pastor Schaefer did was a very bold thing. He sent a message that this issue needs to be looked at further. It was stated that the Book of Discipline says that Gay Marriage is contrary to Biblical teaching. IF the Book of Discipline has Bible verses to VERY CLEARLY support this claim then I side with the United Methodist church. From my standpoint, the Bible IS the final authority in dealing with such issues.

  • http://smashingidols7.wordpress.com/ Alan Ray

    We visited the UMC for over a year before realizing it justified abortion. We were made aware immediately of it’s ecumenical compromise with the RCC and new age heresies, but we attempted to use the bible study as an opportunity to guide willing hearts from falsehoods to truth. But once we realized this church supported murdering unborn children, it was out of the question to continue to be identified with it, especially since the majority there supported murder.
    To hear that this synogogue of Satan has re-instated a Sodomite pastor, therefore, comes as no surprise. It will surely continue down the wide way to destruction and lead willful fools down with them.

Robin and Jeremy

Robin Young and Jeremy Hobson host Here & Now, a live two-hour production of NPR and WBUR Boston.

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