A church jury last month found Frank Schaefer, who had been pastor of a small country church in Lebanon, Pa., guilty of violating United Methodist law by doing the 2007 wedding and also of disobedience. He was given 30 days to decide if he could fully comply with the denomination’s Book of Discipline, or doctrine book.
Schaefer said at the time of the trial and again before the Board of Ordained Ministry Thursday that he could not uphold a book he sees as sending mixed messages on acceptance of gays and lesbians. Schaefer, who has three gay children, said he wants to become a public advocate for gay equality in the church.
At the meeting Thursday, which was closed to the public, Schaefer was asked to follow the jury’s verdict and surrender his credentials.
“He refused to do so. Therefore, because of his decision, the Board was compelled by the jury’s decision to deem his credentials surrendered. He no longer holds the ministerial office in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference by virtue of his decision,” said a statement Thursday from Bishop Peggy Johnson, who oversees the 900 Philadelphia-area parishes that includes Schafer’s former congregation, Zion United Methodist Church of Iona.