Defrocked pastor to appear in court for appeal hearing today

The Lebanon County Pastor, who was defrocked by the United Methodist Church for officiating the marriage of his gay son will once again go before members of the church, but this time to appeal that ruling.

Reverend Schaefer calls it a choice made out of love, one no parent could refuse.

It’s been a long battle for Reverend Frank Schaefer.

Six years ago he officiated his son’s same-sex wedding in Massachusetts, where it was legal.

But a parishioner at his church found out and reported it.

This led to a trial before members of the United Methodist Church, who suspended him and ultimately defrocked him in December of 2013.

“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,” says Reverend Frank Schaefer.

Performing gay marriages under the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Board of Ordained Ministry is in conflict with church law.

Officials asked him if he would do it again…

“It was for something I couldn’t promise not to do. And that is performing gay weddings,” says Reverend Schaefer.

Because Schaefer didn’t say no, he lost his credentials.

Friday, he goes in front of members of the church again, but this time to appeal that decision.

Should the case go as far as it can, it may not be until sometime in 2015 when Schaefer learns if he’ll be allowed to minister again in the church.

“Even according to the church`s laws you can`t be punished for something that you haven`t committed yet,” says Reverend Scaefer.

He’s hoping the argument will convince officials to give him back his credentials, and with gay marriage now legal in Pennsylvania Schaefer suspects more pastors will be going against church law.

“If there’s not going to be a change I feel the church will splinter and break apart,” says Reverend Schaefer.

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