Defrocked Pastor Frank Schaefer preaches in DC

4:16 PM, Dec 22, 2013   |    comments
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Pastor Frank Schaefer (Credit: Surae Chinn)

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - A United Methodist pastor who was defrocked for officiating his son's gay wedding came to preach at the Foundry United Methodist Church in DC.

Recently defrocked Pastor Frank Schaefer brings his message to Northwest Washington.

In 2007 Schaefer performed his son's same-sex wedding which goes against the governing laws of the United Methodist Church

"I was standing in this weird tension between love for my son, family and the love of my church, said Schaefer.

It took 6 years for charges to be brought up against him. A trial before a jury made up of his peers defrocked him on Thursday.

"The trial was gruesome for my family and myself," Schaefer said. "When I was told I was guilty for breaking the discipline of the church law I was devastated."

Schaefer was immediately stripped of his credentials as reverend after serving 20 years with the United Methodist Church.

But DC's Foundry United Methodist Church has welcomed in Pastor Schaefer.

"Here's a pastor who was defrocked. You are defrocked because of the love you have for your son and your church so we are frocking him up," said Foundry UMC Associate Pastor Dawn Hand.

While Schaefer has been rejected by his church, others within the Methodist family are supporting him.

Foundry United Methodist Church is defying church law too. Its reverend performs same sex marriages in the church and believes in marriage equality.

"We're in a tough spot. There is tension right now. It's not hard for us because we believe we are being authentic with the love of Jesus Christ," said Hand. "It's unfortunate some people want to take a few scriptures in the Bible then turn them around. Now our fundamentalist brothers and sisters will say this is the world of God period. We can say the same thing."

Pastor Schaefer has appealed his decision and some members believe change is coming.

"We're calling on our denomination to change the laws that are discriminatory and be inclusive of the LGBTQ in the life of the church," said Hand. 

"I feel we've reached a tipping point. I predict change in 3 to 4 years," said Schaefer.

Schaefer has already had a job offer.  A California Methodist bishop wants him to join his conference.

The bishop does not have the authority to restore his credentials but says he would have the same rights.

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