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UM Judicial Council “Finds No Errors” in Rev. Schaefer Appeal Decision

newsAfter a ruling by the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church to uphold the reinstatement of Rev. Frank Schaefer, Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño of the California-Pacific Conference stated, “I rejoice in the decision of the Judicial Council in the case of Rev. Frank Schaefer for I believe it affirms our United Methodist commitment to doing all the good we can in the name of Jesus our Lord.”

According to the United Methodist News Service, the ruling, which was made public on October 27, 2014, stated that, “there are no errors in the application of the church law and judicial decisions [in the appeal decision],” and that, “The penalty as modified by the Committee on Appeals stands.”

Rev. Frank Schaefer was an ordained elder in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church when, in December of 2013, his credentials as a pastor were revoked after a 30-day suspension resulting from a two-day trial over officiating the same-sex wedding of his son.  The defrocking of Rev. Schaefer, based on his statement that he could not, “uphold The Discipline in its entirety,” was successfully appealed in June of 2014 and his credentials were restored.  The case went to the United Methodist Judicial Council after the counsel for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, Rev. Christopher Fisher, filed an appeal of Rev. Schaefer’s appeal decision.

Supporters pray for Rev. Frank Schaefer and his wife, Brigitte, in the lead up to UM Judicial Council
Supporters pray for Rev. Frank Schaefer and his wife, Brigitte, in the lead up to UM Judicial Council

A number of prayer vigils in support of Rev. Frank Schaefer were held in the lead up to the ruling, including in the California-Pacific Conference at the Isla Vista Student Ministry where he is currently the lead pastor.  Soon after the decision of his first trial, Rev. Schaefer was invited to be in ministry in the California-Pacific Conference by Resident Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño.

After the ruling, Rev. Schaefer commented that, “Their decision signals hope to our LGBTQ community that has not always seen the rule of love and grace winning over the letter of the archaic law the church still subscribes to. Today’s decision also signals a willingness to continue dialogue and to seek solutions that will hopefully lead to a change in these archaic and harmful policies.”