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Frank Schaefer to be Assigned to Isla Vista Student Ministry (Santa Barbara, CA)

messageI am grateful for the action of the committee on appeals in the Frank Schaefer case.  In line with our disciplinary procedures the committee on appeals has clearly stated that a fair punishment for past actions has already been imposed on Rev. Schaefer and that he cannot be judged for something he has not yet done.  It is a word that affirms that we United Methodists have appropriate disciplinary procedures for our clergy while never ceasing to be a faith community dependent on God’s grace.

I have this day been in prayerful conversation with Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference.  As per Rev. Schaefer’s own request, Bishop Johnson and I have agreed to transfer Rev. Frank Schaefer to the California-Pacific Conference.  Even on this day, Bishop Johnson continues to affirm that Rev. Schaefer is a person gifted and grace-filled for ordained ministry.  His transfer will be effective on July 1, 2014 at which time I will appoint him to the Isla Vista Student Ministry in Santa Barbara, CA, a ministry that will build on the work of our Korean UMC in that community.  Rev. Schaefer will be responsible for leading the administrative work of this congregation and reaching out to the large college community that lives, studies, and works at the doorsteps of this church while Pastor Rahel Yoo will serve with him to continue nurturing and growing the Korean ministry.

I am aware of the fact that these steps on our journey to wholeness may be troubling to some among us.  This burdens my heart, but we must be the church of Jesus that excludes no one.  I will continue to hold up for all of us the need to be servants of Christ of the highest moral character whether we are straight or gay.  At the same time, we must not judge each other on the basis of our gender identity, for we are all created by God and loved by God with the very gender identity God has graciously bestowed upon us.

Rev. Schaefer has much to teach us about what it means to love the children God gives us who happen to be gay.  I pray that we will make space for him and his family in our lives and in our hearts as he comes to labor among us.

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño
Los Angeles Area Resident Bishop
The United Methodist Church
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