Appeal hearing Friday for defrocked pastor

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

You may remember the Lebanon County Pastor who was defrocked by the United Methodist Church for officiating the marriage of his gay son. Reverend Frank Schaefer will once again go before members of the United Methodist Church, this time, to appeal that ruling.

Frank Schaefer says it was a choice made out of love, and one no parent could refuse. Six years ago he officiated the marriage of his gay son Tim in Massachusetts, where it was legal. A parishioner at his church, Zion United Methodist Church in Lebanon County, found out and reported it. This lead to a trial before members of the United Methodist Church, who suspended him and ultimately defrocked him.

“I really felt sad, it was a huge loss to me. There were moments when I was losing hope, I even asked myself will I ever set foot in another church ever again,” said Frank Schaefer.

The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Board of Ordained Ministry asked Schaefer to agree to not perform any more gay marriage ceremonies, which are against church rule. When he refused, they defrocked him.

“The defrocking was not really a punishment for what I had done, you know performing the wedding for my gay son, but it was for something I couldn’t promise not to do, and that is performing gay weddings,” said Schaefer.

On Friday Schaefer will appeal. “Even according to the church’s laws you can’t be punished for something that you haven’t committed yet,” said Schaefer. “It would mean the world to me to get my orders back to be reinstated as a reverend, as a minster in the United Methodist Church.”

The hearing will be before members of the Committee on Appeals for the Northeast Jurisdiction, and opposing counsel. It will take place Friday morning in Linthicum Maryland.