“What does it matter to ya
When you got a job to do
You gotta do it well
You gotta give the other fellow hell” – “Live and Let Die”, Paul McCartney
As of October 27th, the Rev. Fred Schaefer has been “refrocked” by the United Methodist Church (UMC).
Rev. Schaefer was found guilty of violating church law in November 2013 after he officiated his son’s same-sex wedding in 2007. The imposed penalty included an immediate 30-day suspension followed by a written report to, and interview with, the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Board of Ordained Ministry “regarding his call and his willingness to uphold the Book of Discipline in its entirety.”
If Rev. Schaefer failed to comply with the penalty, there would come a call to surrender his credentials to the annual conference.
Rev. Schaefer wrote and presented his report. However, in his conclusion, he committed “to working together with my clergy colleagues, providing a ministry to all people under my care, continuing to advocate for our LGBT community within the UM Church while using proper channels toward changing the discriminatory language and provisions in our Book of Discipline.” Rev. Schaefer was asked about this caveat, and told the Board of Ordained Ministry that he could not uphold the Discipline in its entirety and would not voluntarily surrender his credentials.
At the time, it was ruled that Rev. Schaefer’s credentials be taken from him.
However, the Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals ruled that Rev. Schaefer’s credentials be reinstated on June 24th, 2014. The Committee found that the “compound penalty” imposed upon Rev. Schaefer involved “mixing and matching of penalties that are designed to be distinct.”
During the October 22-25 fall meeting of the UMC Judicial Council in Memphis, the Judicial Council upheld the Committee’s June 24th decision. They found that the original November 2007 trial court had not described a voluntary surrender of credentials as a requirement of the original penalty, and that there was no record that Rev. Schaefer “engaged in any sort of flagrant disobedience” in regards to his penalty.
Although the decision did not change the UMC’s official standing on marriage equality, Rev. Schaefer was quite correct in stating that his refrocking was a huge decision in favor of LGBT rights.
Image courtesy of UMC
I’m Mariah! I was raised in the South, so I say ‘boo’ A LOT. I’m a poet, a teacher, a voracious reader, and a really big English nerd. I have one son, an orange domestic shorthair feline, and about 50 million crochet projects going at once.