Monday, December 23, 2013

Rev. Frank Schaefer - Facts and Media Coverage

Rev. Frank Schaefer - Facts and Media Coverage


Watch worship at Foundry UMC with Rev. Frank Schaefer:
Schaefer introduction – 36:50
Scripture – 45:50
Schaefer leads “We Shall Overcome” – 1:31:31
Watch the Question and Answer session with Rev. Schaefer  here.


This page will be updated with a selection of media coverage from Rev. Frank Schaefer’s trial. The links are categorized and dated, with the most recent items at the top of each list.


  • Rev. Frank Schaefer officiated the wedding of his son Tim Schaefer to another man.
  • Several years later, a complaint was made against Rev. Schaefer by Mr. Boger following his mother being fired as music director of the church.
  • Read the entire complaint process here.
  • Rev. Schaefer was charged with “officiating a same-sex union and breaking the order and discipline of The United Methodist Church.”
  • The trial court (jury), composed of clergy members from the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, found Rev. Schaefer guilty on both counts.
  • The jury suspended Rev. Schaefer from his pastoral duties for 30 days while also requiring him to report to his Board of Ordained Ministry and District Superintendent as to whether or not he will be able to uphold the Book of Discipline in its entirety. If, at the conclusion of his 30 day suspension, Rev. Schaefer does not agree to uphold the Book of Discipline in its entirety, the penalty stipulates that he must surrender his orders.
  • There are opportunities for appeal and various options for Rev. Schaefer.
  • Rev. Schaefer has clearly stated he will not renounce his support for LGBTQ persons or marriage equality
  • Read Schaefer’s decision on his penalty here.
  • Read Bishop Carcaño’s  invitation to Rev. Schaefer to join the California-Pacific Conference as clergy

. . .


Print/Web Media

11/25/2013 – PolicyMic website – This Methodist Minister Was Punished For Officiating His Gay Son’s Marriage
11/25/2013 – Unfundamentalist Christians on Patheos – The Methodists, slavery, and homosexuality: is history repeating itself? Former Methodist Don M. Burrows reflects.
11/23/2013 – Los Angeles Times – Methodist pastor, suspended for performing gay marriage, weighs options
11/22/2013 – TIME Magazine (online) – Discrimination and Hate Speech in the United Methodist Church. Rev. Frank Schaefer in his own words.
11/21/2013 – Philadelphia Inquirer – Gay-rights activists plead with Methodist bishop. Petition presented to Bishop Peggy Johnson to stop the trials.
11/21/2013 – Signe Wilkinson offers a cartoon response.

11/20/2013 – Washington Post – Methodist pastor who officiated at gay son’s wedding is suspended for 30 days
11/20/2013 – Huffington Post - A Methodist Inquisition.  Rev. Dr. Nancy Wilson, Global Leader of the Metropolitan Community Church (and former Methodist) comments on the current situation.
11/20/2013 – Lebanon Daily News – Lebanon County Pastor Frank Schaefer receives suspension.
11/18/2013 – Believe Out Loud – Marriage On Trial In The United Methodist Church
11/24/2013 – Michelangelo Signorile, Sirius Radio Interview – Frank Schaefer, United Methodist Pastor, Discusses Conviction For Officiating Son’s Gay Marriage
11/21/2013 – Here and Now, NPR – Same-Sex Marriage Roils Methodist Church. Eight minute interview with Rev. Frank Schaefer
11/20/2013 – CBS Philly – Pastor Suspended For Officiating Son’s Same-Sex Marriage Speaks Out [VIDEO: interview with Rev. Frank Schaefer day following end of trial.]
11/20/2013 – CNN, The Lead with Jake Tapper – Pastor suspended for officiating son’s same-sex wedding would do it again [VIDEO - includes new TV interview with Jake Tapper]
11/19/2013 – ABC News (Harrisburg, PA) – Local News Report following trial. [VIDEO - includes scenes from our witness at the end of the trial]
11/19/2013 – NBC News (Local station) – coverage following end of trial. [VIDEO - includes interview with Frank and scenes from our witness]
11/19/2013 – CBS Local News Coverage [VIDEO - include press conference following trial and scenes from our witness]
11/19/2013 – NBS News (WGAL Local station) [VIDEO - pre-penalty announcement, interviews with church members]


Bishop’s Responses

11/21/2013 – Bishop John Schol, Greater New Jersey Conference
11/20/2013 – Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar, New England Conference
11/20/2013 – Bishop Peggy Johnson, Eastern Pennsylvania Conference responds to questions from media.
11/20/2013 – Bishop Sally Dyck, Northern Illinois Conference

Church Responses
11/20/2013 – Hollywood UMC, Hollywood, CA – A Letter from Our Rev. Kathy Cooper-Ledesma, “It’s Time for Our Denomination to Grow Up”
11/20/2013 – First UMC, Seattle, WA – Pastor: Church is ‘wrong, stupid and evil’ for anti-gay marriage stance [VIDEO]
11/20/2013 – Foundry UMC, Washington DC – A Statement from Foundry
11/20/2013 – Urban Village Church, Chicago, IL – A Statement of Affirmation and Dissent, toward a Gospel Inclusive Church
11/20/2013 – Metropolitan Memorial UMC, Washington, DC – Asking Someone to Repent an Act of Grace

United Methodist News Stories
11/19/2013 – United Methodist Reporter – End of trial prompts varied reactions from participants
11/19/2013 – United Methodist Connections – Schaefer suspended 30 days for performing same-sex wedding

RMN/MFSA Responses
11/20/2013 – RMN Response from Executive Director Matt Berryman – Frank Schaefer Trial statement: Re-membering the Body
11/20/2013 – MFSA Response – The United Methodist Church Continues to Inflict Spiritual Carnage

Methodist Bloggers
11/21/2013 – Rev. Karen Oliveto –  Welcome, Everyone?
11/20/2013 – Morgan Guyton – Justice of the heart and Frank Schaefer
11/20/2013 – Hacking Christianity – Top 25 ways United Methodists don’t uphold the Book of Discipline
11/19/2013 – Rev. Becca Girrell – The courage of couples
11/18/2013 – Michael Williams – Ordination and Marriage: Positions of Privilege or Opportunities to Serve?
11/18/2013 – Hacking Christianity – This Trial is no way to settle an HR dispute
. . .

Take Action

Dear friends,
Rev. Frank Schaefer has been sentenced and possibly will lose his clergy credentials. Many of you have asked, “What can we do?” 
Now is the time to ask ourselves, “how wide is our welcome?” Now more than ever, we have the opportunity to share a voice of hope and not one of harm with our LGBTQ friends and family. The church prosecutors want us to back away in fear. But Jesus has given us a higher law of Love. A love that is risky, a love that is selfless, a love that hopes all things, a love that endures all things. A perfect love that drives out fear, like we witnessed in Frank Shaefer. The time for debate is over. The time for action and Biblical Obedience to the Gospel of inclusion we have been given by Jesus is now.
Share a brief summary of the facts of the case with your congregation. We know that members of our congregations have different levels of awareness of what transpired this week. Sharing the details of this case will provide a common knowledgebase and shed light on the continued injustices of our church. For your convenience, a summary along with selections from the press can be found on RMN’s website.
Write a blog post about why you are a Reconciling United Methodist or why you choose to stay United Methodist. During this time when too many people are only familiar with a discriminatory UMC, we need to share our stories of why we are Reconciling and why we work to make The UMC more inclusive for all people. Write your blog of 500 words or less and send it to RMN to be published on the RMN blog. Also Tweet or Facebook using the hashtag: #reasonsIstay.
Were you wishing you were at the trial? Unfortunately, Rev. Schaefer is likely not the last clergyperson to be put on trial for fulfilling pastoral duties. There are multiple complaints currently in process. Please stay tuned to RMN emails, social media, and the Biblical Obedience portal for details on future trials. Learn how you can participate in witness activities on site and from afar. 
Not yet a Reconciling United Methodist? Sign-up now and join the witness of United Methodists who welcome people of all sexual orientations and gender identities into the full life of the church. 
Mail a Christmas letter to your pastor, district superintendent, and bishop. The season of Advent approaches, a time when Mary and Joseph were in need and repeatedly told, “There’s no room at the inn.” In the time honored tradition of Christmas letters, share why you believe, especialy during this Christmas season, we must be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus, stop the “no vacancies” for LGBTQ people, and extend wide our welcome to all people. Your bishop’s contact information can be found here. 
Annual Conference Teams: Schedule an in-person meeting with your resident bishop. The statements from the Council of Bishops have been impersonal and dehumanizing to LGBTQ people and their families. Now is the time for Annual Conference Teams to meet with our bishops face-to-face to humanize the struggles of LGBTQ people, their families, and allies as well as challenge them to be faithful to the Gospel of Jesus and not to unjust laws. Your bishop’s contact information can be found here.
Not yet a Reconciling Community? Now is the perfect time to begin the Reconciling Process. Check out RMN’s online introduction to the Institute for Welcoming Resources Building An Inclusive Church Toolkit. To learn more about how your faith community can begin conversations about how to be more inclusive of LGBTQ people, contact your jurisdiction’s regional organizer
Talk to your pastor about authoring an open letter declaring the ways in which your congregation is faithful to the inclusive Gospel of Jesus. Publish it on your church’s website and/or blog, and send it to you district superintendent, bishop, and to RMN. Examples:  Foundry and Urban Village ChurchWelcome Audit. When was the last time your church conducted an audit of its welcome practices and policies? Form a task group to review the ways in which your church is and is not generously embodying welcome in its services, programs, policies, marketing, and physical space to people of all ages, races, abilities, sexual orientations, gender identities, economic statuses, and other human categories. Contact your Regional Organizer to widen your welcome.Safe Schools Partnerships. Bullying of LGBTQ students in middle and high schools is a growing problem. Contact your local middle and high schools about forming partnerships with Gay-Straight Alliances (GSAs) as well as local Safe Schools initiativesExample: Northbrook UMC partners with a community health organization, LINKS, to host a confidential support group for LGBTQ middle-school youth.Marriage Policy. Does your congregation have a policy on celebrating ceremonies of Christian marriage for couples of all sexual orientations? Check out RMN marriage equality resources. Consider going through a congregational process to adopt an inclusive policy for celebrating Christian marriages. If you do have such a policy, share your marriage ceremony policy on your church website, with your district superintendent and bishop, as well as send a copy to RMN so that we can share it with other congregations interested in seeing what other congregations have authored.Sign the “Altar for All” Statement on RMN’s website. Individuals (clergy and laity) as well as faith communities can sign the Altar for All statement and refuse to discriminate against any of God’s children and pledge to make marriage equality a lived reality within The United Methodist Church.  
Make a donation to RMN. The moment is now. Your support enables RMN to empower United Methodist clergy and laity to take risks and follow the Gospel imperative to be in ministry with and for all people. Help build momentum in our Church and world for justice and inclusion of all people today!

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