Frank Schaefer, the United Methodist pastor from Pennsylvania who was defrocked by the denomination for officiating at his son’s wedding to his same-sex partner, will speak at First United Methodist Church of Schenectady on Sunday, June 29, 2014. He will present a lecture at 3pm as part of the church’s Carl Lecture series, and will preach at its 10:00 am worship service. All are welcome to attend either or both events.

Schaefer rose to prominence in late 2013 when the United Methodist denomination put him on trial for violating the denomination’s Book of Discipline, which forbids clergy from officiating at same-sex weddings. While he recognized the restriction imposed by the Discipline, he felt strongly that he was being called as part of his clergy vows to minister to all, including his gay son and his son’s partner. His trial and subsequent penalty thrust him into the national spotlight, where he insisted that he could not remain silent in the face of organizational oppression.  “I cannot go back to being a silent supporter. I must continue to be in ministry with all people and speak for LGBTQ people. Members of the jury, before you decide my penalty, you need to know I wear this rainbow stole as a visible sign that this is who I am called to be,” declared Schaefer during his closing statement at his trial.  His appearance at FUMC is particularly timely, as he will be appealing his conviction and penalty on June 20th.

Both events will be held in the Sanctuary at First United Methodist Church, 603 State Street, Schenectady. Parking is available on the Chapel Street side of the church. The 3:00 pm Carl Lecture is co-sponsored by the church’s Carl Lecture team and the Reconciling Ministries Team.

First United Methodist Church of Schenectady is a progressive United Methodist congregation that “loves to learn and yearns to be a gift of God to our communities.” For more information on services provided at or through the church please contact the pastor, Rev. Sara Baron, at (518) 374-4403.

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