Methodist Church defrocks Pa. pastor who officiated at son’s same-sex wedding

The United Methodist Council of Ordained Ministers has defrocked a Central Pennsylvania pastor who presided at the wedding of his gay son in 2007.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer said Thursday he was saddened by the decision and will continue to advocate for a change in church policy.

“I will not give up the fight. I am still a minister in my heart and I will continue to minister,” he said. “I will continue to be a voice for the LGBT community.”

Schaefer appeared in Norristown before the board of 40 ordained ministers at the end of a month-long suspension. He told them he could not meet the condition of his reinstatement, a pledge to follow the Methodist Book of Discipline in its entirety, including its ban on officiating at same-sex marriage ceremonies.

Schaefer has already filed an appeal of the decision, the first reached in several  Methodist church trials pending nationally over same-sex marriages.

He has been approached by other denominations but said the Methodist church has been his spiritual home.

John Coleman, a spokesman for the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the denomination, said Schaefer left the board no choice after defying the order of a religious jury by refusing to resign, according to an Associated Press report.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.