Rev. Frank Schaefer appeal
The Judicial Council will hear an appeal of a decision to reinstate a pastor who had lost his ministerial credentials after performing a same-sex marriage ceremony for his son on October 22 at 11AM at the Doubletree Memphis Downtown Hotel, 185 Union Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38103. See more information about vigils and a witness in Memphis here.
As reported by MIND: The church’s appeal – despite the extremely thorough ruling by the Appeals Committee – has meant renewed uncertainty for Frank, with the possibility of being re-defrocked hanging over his head. It’s particularly shocking because the decision was a careful and conservative argument based entirely on Judicial Council precedent. So much for pretense that the motivation to punish Frank comes from a devotion to church law. In truth, the appeal of the NEJ decision is a vindictive act that betrays an obsession to prosecute and persecute LGBTQ people and anyone who dares to treat us equally.
Review of sexuality resolutions
Rev. Schaefer appeal is only one of five decisions being made concerning LGBTQ inclusion in the church. As reported by UMNS:
- Bishop Sudarshana Devadhar ruled that a 2014 New England Annual Conference resolution urging a change in denominational policy toward same-sex marriage and an openness to all couples wanting to marry “is thoroughly aspirational in nature” and does not break church mandates.
- Bishop Deborah L. Kiesey declared that language in a 2014 Detroit Annual Conference resolution to support lay members who chose same-sex marriage was aspirational, depending on the type of support. But she ruled “null and void” the call to stop filing complaints against those accused of violating church law or enforcing those laws.
- Bishop Sally Dyck ruled a 2014 Northern Illinois Annual Conference resolution on marriage equality is “an historical and aspirational statement without prescriptive force which does not specifically negate, ignore or violate provisions of the Discipline.”
- Bishop Marcus Matthews declared that the process used by the Baltimore-Washington Annual Conference “to vote on the five human sexuality resolutions was lawful and did not violate the Discipline.” He also ruled that one of those resolutions, entitled “Agree to Disagree on Issues Pertaining to Gender and Sexual Minorities,” is aspirational and does not violate church law.
Give to the RMN Clergy Defense and Resiliency Fund
RMN is joining others in helping Rev. Schaefer with the costs associated with defending his faithfulness to full LGBTQ inclusion in The UMC. Your gift to the Clergy Defense and Resiliency Fund helps Rev. Schaefer and people like him.
The discriminatory policies of The United Methodist Church are meant to dissuade LGBTQ persons from pursuing their calls to ordained ministry, clergy from offering the ministry of marriage to prepared same-gender loving couples, and church leaders from supporting ministries with and for LGBTQ persons. The Clergy Defense and Resiliency Fund of Reconciling Ministries Network was established to support: LGBTQ candidates through the ordination process, and United Methodists facing complaint investigations or church trials due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or service in ministry with LGBTQ persons. Funds raised for the Clergy Defense and Resiliency Fund will support direct expenses such as those related to complaint investigations and trial processes as well as support services provided by RMN staff and related expenses.
Prayer vigil and march in Memphis on Wednesday, October 22 – prior to the hearing
In support of Rev Frank Schaefer and the other LGBT related cases that the Judicial Council will be considering we will meet at Court Square Park at 9:00AM. A service including litany, music, reflections, and Holy Communion will begin at 9:30AM
The service will conclude at 10:15AM, at which point, we will walk from Court Square Park to the DoubleTree Hotel for the hearing.
Please wear your rainbow stoles!
The hearing for Rev Frank Schaefer’s case will commence at 11:00AM and is likely to last 1 to 1.5 hours.
There is a Facebook event – please let us know if you’ll be attending.
Organize a prayer vigil in your church or community:
Here is a list of all the vigils we are aware of: http://bit.ly/ZoagFz
Rev. Frank Schaefer has called for prayer vigils the week before the hearing, with a target date of October 15 to pray not only for justice for Rev. Schaefer, but the other docket items as well. We will also encourage all churches to lift Frank and his family up during their October 19 worship services. Create an event on Facebook and share it with us so we can help get the word out. Here are some resources for the prayer vigils from Rev. Schaefer.