US: Methodist pastor who performed gay wedding ‘refrocked’ after winning appeal

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A Methodist pastor who was defrocked for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding has been reinstated.

Frank Schaefer of the United Methodist Church was put on “trial” by his congregation after officiating at the wedding, and last November was found guilty for violating church law.

However, a decision was eventually made to reinstate him – which was today upheld by the Church’s highest court, the Judicial Council

The council said: “The Judicial Council upon careful review of the decision of the Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals in the matter of the Rev Frank Schaefer and the questions of law presented by the counsel for the church finds there are no errors in the application of the church law and judicial decision.

“The penalty as modified by the Committee on Appeals stands.”

Mr Schaefer said: “Today, we are witnessing a small, but significant step toward taking another look at the exclusionary policies of The United Methodist Church.

“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.”

Matt Berryman of the Reconciling Ministries Network said: “The UMC has taken a step on the journey toward justice in the reinstatement of Rev Frank Schaefer, but still has a long way to go to reconcile with God’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer children whose desire is to stay in love with God and one another.”