PHILADELPHIA (WJZ/AP)— A Pennsylvania pastor who was defrocked when he broke church law by presiding over his son’s same-sex wedding is being transferred to a United Methodist church in California.
Mary Bubala has more on how the Methodist minister found justice in Maryland.
Pastor Frank Schaefer’s case was heard in Maryland after he was defrocked for officiating his son’s gay marriage. On Tuesday, he celebrated a return to his church after getting the good news in an email from a nine-person appeals panel.
“I had to scroll all the way to the bottom to find out what the verdict was, and the verdict was that I am reinstated as an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer, a pastor from Lebanon, has been appointed to the Isla Vista Student Ministry in Santa Barbara, Calif. The transfer is effective July 1.
Bishop Minerva G. Carcano of the California-Pacific Annual Conference says he and Bishop Peggy Johnson of the church’s Eastern Pennsylvania Conference agreed to Schaefer’s request for the transfer.
The appeals panel, which met in Linthicum, Anne Arundel County, last week ordered the church to restore Schaefer’s pastoral credentials, saying the jury that convicted him of breaking church law erred in its punishment.
Schaefer was suspended after officiating his gay son’s wedding, but was defrocked when he said he would perform others in the future.
In a symbolic move during the news conference Schaefer put on the rainbow colored stole he wore during his trial and said he would never refuse ministry to anyone.
“I will never be silent again. I will always speak with and for the LGTB brothers and sisters in the church and beyond,” Schaefer said.
Schaefer was originally charged after a member of his congregation complained to the church about his involvement in his son’s wedding.
The church can appeal the decision to its highest court, the Judicial Council.
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