Rev. Frank Schaefer, once defrocked, reinstated to pro-LGBT ministry

The Judicial Council of the United Methodist Church affirmed the reinstatement of Rev. Frank Schaefer to ordained ministry in the church. Last year, Rev. Schaefer was defrocked after officiating at the wedding of his gay son and his husband. He appealed the ruling earlier this year.

Rev. Schaefer had praise for the ruling:

Today, we are witnessing a small, but significant step toward taking another look at the exclusionary policies of the United Methodist Church. With its decision to validate my reinstatement, the Judicial Council has acted justly and wisely. Their decision signals hope to our LGBTQ community that has not always seen the rule of love and grace winning over the letter of the archaic law the church still subscribes to. Today’s decision also signals a willingness to continue dialogue and to seek solutions that will hopefully lead to a change in these archaic and harmful policies. The UM Church needs to find a way toward reconciliation, full inclusion of our LGBTQ community and an open altar for all God’s beloved children.

I will continue the fight alongside thousands of others in the reconciling movement for full inclusion and an open altar for all. I know the day is coming when this dream will be reality and I don’t think it is that far in the future.

Rev. Schaeffer is not the only United Methodist Church pastor who has come under fire for performing a wedding for a same sex couple. Since LGBT advocates unsuccessfully tried to remove anti-LGBT language from the denomination's Book of Discipline, many pastors have pledged to open up their churches and their ministries (including marriage) in acts of "biblical obedience."