Methodists uphold reinstatement of pastor who presided over son’s gay wedding

by Meredith Somers - The Washington Times  |  published on October 29, 2014

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A Methodist judicial council on Monday upheld the decision in the case of a pastor who was defrocked for officiating his gay son’s wedding but later reinstated, closing a 10-month dispute that highlighted the internal struggle of the church to balance doctrine and shifting social attitudes.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer, 52, former pastor at Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, called the council’s decision to uphold his appeal a “small but significant step” toward equality for all within the United Methodist Church, and reinvigorated his own fight for gay rights.

“It feels so good to have the final word,’ Mr. Schaefer said. “Nothing is hanging over my head. It also feels great for what it means to the [gay-lesbian-transgender] community within the church. They have been watching this decision. This signals that there is room for them in the church.”

In its decision, the United Methodist Judicial Council stated that it found no errors with the ruling by the church’s Committee on Appeals for the Northeastern Jurisdiction, but acknowledged “that some within the Church do not support this outcome today.”