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Defrocked Pa. Pastor Reinstated by Methodist Church

"Today's decision shows that the church is moving toward love over legalism," Schaefer said.

Bridget, Tim and Frank Schaefer at Tim's wedding in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Frank Schaefer)
Bridget, Tim and Frank Schaefer at Tim's wedding in 2007. (Photo courtesy of Frank Schaefer)
The Pennsylvania pastor who was defrocked by the United Methodist Church for officiating at his son's wedding to another man has been reinstated.

A panel of both clergy and lay church members found that Frank Schaefer was unfairly defrocked, The Philadelphia Inquirer reported. The panel upheld as Schaefer's sentence a 30-day suspension. He has already served it.

Schaefer, who served as pastor at Zion Methodist Church in Iona, Pa., officiated his son’s same-sex wedding in 2007 in Massachusetts. When he was given his 30-day suspension, he was told he would need to decide if he could uphold all aspects of Methodist teachings, including the belief that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” Schaefer said that he could not.

The panel deliberating this week had issue with that aspect of Schaefer's punishment, saying, "Our clergy can only be punished for what they have been convicted of doing in the past, not for what they may or may not do in the future," the Inquirer reported.

"I can't even begin to describe how meaningful this "refrocking" is to me," Schaefer said in a statement Tuesday. "I never did understand the severity of my punishment for an act of love for my son Tim."

"Today's decision shows that the church is moving toward love over legalism," Schaefer said.

Now that Schaefer has been reinstated, he will be assigned to the Isla Vista Student Ministry in Santa Barbara, Calif., the United Methodist Church announced Tuesday.

Judy Zizza Ryan June 26, 2014 at 08:12 PM
God gave us all a free will....that's all I'm sayin
David N June 26, 2014 at 10:00 PM
Tolerance has now become a weapon for liberals, a mace swung against the head of anyone failing to fall in with the whims of the sensitivity police. The issue grates.
DJ2 June 27, 2014 at 05:51 AM
Stop talking about "God's word" when you probably have a shirt made from a polyester blend and a garden with tomatoes AND cucumbers in it. Both mean you are going to hell (Leviticus 19:19). I will pray for your hypocritical souls.
harryfinster June 27, 2014 at 11:08 AM
he could have gotten arrested for walking around without his frock on

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