Pastor Defrocked for Gay Wedding Speaks at Local Church

A former United Methodist minister who was defrocked last year for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding spoke Sunday morning at a Delaware County church.

Frank Schaefer spoke during the 9 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. services at the Willistown United Methodist Church on West Chester Pike in Newtown Square. After the services, Schaefer held a question and answer session along with the church’s pastor, Rev. Coryn Pena.

Pena was a member of the church jury that defrocked Schaefer last year.

Schaefer previously served as pastor of the Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon County. He was suspended from his position for 30 days in November of last year for officiating his son’s gay wedding in Massachusetts back in 2007.

Although the Methodist church accepts gay and lesbian members, it rejects the practice of homosexuality as “incompatible with Christian teaching.” Schaefer’s decision to officiate the wedding was seen as contradictory to church teachings.

After his suspension, Schaefer refused to surrender his credentials and said he could not follow the denomination’s Book of Discipline. Schaefer argued that the book discriminates against gay people. He was defrocked on December 19, 2013.

Schaefer continues to appeal the loss of his ministerial credentials.

"I am upset and I am disappointed, but I’m not upset at people or at my colleagues, or at the church people, I’m upset at the exclusionary policies that we have in place, and we must change those policies," Schaefer said. “I’m here to tell you that I will not give up the fight. I am still a minister in my heart and I will continue to be a voice for the LGBT community."

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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