December 23, 2013

Defrocked and Defiant Frank Schaefer Takes to Foundry Pulpit

A United Methodist pastor recently defrocked for violating the denomination’s Book of Discipline has joined a prominent Washington, D.C. congregation. Frank Schaefer was found guilty in November of conducting a same-sex marriage and was deemed to have surrendered his clergy credentials last week due to an unwillingness to submit to the entire Discipline.

On Sunday, Schaefer was guest preacher at prominent Foundry United Methodist Church in Washington, D.C., where he, his wife and two youngest sons officially joined the activist congregation at the conclusion of the service.

The defrocked pastor found strong support at Foundry, whose own pastor, Dean Snyder, has claimed to preside over twenty same-sex marriages since 2010. Schaefer received a standing ovation when Snyder told the congregation that the Pennsylvania minister had refused to repent for conducting his son’s same-sex wedding.

Recalling how he felt “sick to my stomach when I heard the verdict,” Snyder shared how he was discouraged at the state of the United Methodist Church, but eager to welcome Schaefer to Foundry.

Despite expressing discouragement at his own defrocking, Schaefer struck a defiant tone in his sermon message, refusing to promise not to conduct further same-sex weddings and declaring “this is not the time to give up the fight – this is the time to intensify the fight.”

Initially preaching on Joseph’s treatment of Mary in Matthew Chapter 1, Schaefer quickly pivoted to his own story and recent church trial experience.

Saying that he had hoped the church would “be like Joseph and show grace and love,” Schaefer recounted putting on a rainbow stole “in advocacy of LGBT persons” while testifying at trial.

“I had to confess in my heart what I knew was true and stand against the institutions of the United Methodist Church,” the Pennsylvania pastor declared. “I can no longer be a silent supporter. I will tell the church that these laws are discriminatory.”

Describing his experience at the church trial, Schaefer revealed how he “felt the power of God enter into me at a moment where I felt weak.” Quoting Matthew Chapter 10:19-20, Schaefer read “But when they arrest you, do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say,  for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

“I was disappointed the church trial found me guilty,” Schaefer revealed. “I was devastated when they took my credentials away.”

Schaefer’s message on Sunday morning was also a plea to those persons who had departed the United Methodist Church over homosexuality language found in the Discipline.

“Please come back, we need you,” Schaefer said to those who had departed, adding that he was “committed to doing everything in my power to taking back the United Methodist Church.”

Describing a moment of discouragement the day after his defrocking, Schaefer told of a sudden phone call from a number he didn’t recognize.

“[California-Pacific Annual Conference Bishop] Minerva Carcaño herself called me on my cell phone and said ‘we are proud of what you did and want you to minister in our annual conference,’” Schaefer reported. “When bishop Carcaño called, I felt my heart strangely warmed,” he said echoing John Wesley’s language of conversion.

Closing the service, a guitar-playing Schaefer led the congregation in a closing hymn of ‘We Shall Overcome’ in which congregants joined hands and swayed while singing.

Schaefer will return to preach at Foundry on January 26th, as originally planned.


18 Responses to Defrocked and Defiant Frank Schaefer Takes to Foundry Pulpit

  1. gary says:

    If Schaeffer really cared about the UMC he would leave as would all of the heretics that support the abomination that is same-sex “marriage”. But the ugly truth is Schaeffer and his ilk do not care about this church they only care about their “cause” and forcing a church to change 2,000 year old teachings. He and his supporters are really nothing more than activists who really don’t know about God’s Word nor do they care.

  2. Marco Bell says:

    We may not live long enough to witness it, but time will determine the merits of this discriminatory practice in our churches.
    And the Church will be stronger for overcoming it.
    Rev. Schaefer will appear a Saint in time.

    • Dan Horsley says:

      No, the church will not be stronger for its toleration of vice, it will continue its downward slide in membership, as the left-wing churches have been doing for 60 years. The numbers don’t lie. Degenerates like this rogue clergyman are not packing them into the pews, just the opposite.

      Funny you would pin the label “saint” on someone who violates his vows to his church and openly mocks Christian moral standards. So his son is gay – he’s a pitiful excuse for a father to not only condone his son’s vice but to aid and abet it.

      Reprobates like him are digging their own graves, jobwise. The half-empty churches that people like him are preaching to will probably be mosques in 20 years or less, and rest assured there won’t be any gay weddings in the mosques.

      • Michael Arichea says:

        gary and dan: how are you SO sure that your narrow, exclusive, pious, and judgemental reading of the scriptures is what God intended? HOW ARE YOU SO SURE? when you’re standing at the pearly gates, are you gonna quote Leviticus back at God, when he asks you why you were so obstinately rude and just plain mean to your brothers and sisters in Christ? just a thought…

        • Greg Paley says:

          What is it with liberals and Leviticus? I rarely hear Leviticus discussed or even mentioned by Christians, but it sure is an obsession for gays. Some Christians may quote the Leviticus verses that condemn homosexuality, but most Christians I know stick with Paul’s three passages that make it clear that the early Christians condemned homosexuality. Leviticus is pretty boggy ground to build on.

          As for standing at the pearly gates, as you mentioned: upholding biblical standards of morality is not going to deny anyone passage to heaven. On the other hand, Paul had some strong opinions on the behaviors that would exclude people.

      • Marco Bell says:

        That last point of yours might be the secret to the next co-op of religions… Since Christians and Muslims probably won’t be allowing Gay marriages, perhaps they should marry?

        The growth of the Progressives will no doubt find it’s stride in the future, and thus will establish it’s own space for worship.

        It’s not very Christian of you to judge Pastor Schaefer for his parenting skills, and it isn’t his responsibility to “make” his son anything that he’s not!

        • Greg Paley says:

          “Progressive” churches are dying. They won’t need space, they will cease to exist. Period. “We marry gays” is not much of a foundation for a religion.

    • Geary says:

      When pigs fly!

  3. Pastor TR says:

    I fully understand the emotionalism of this ongoing issue…and that’s the real shame. This issue is not about a father and his gay son; it is not about whether anyone approves of homosexuality or not; it is not about agendas. This issue is about honesty and whether UMC clergy will be able to live together in a covenantal connection. When we become UMC clergy, we willingly and fully submit ourselves to the greater good of the clergy covenantal connection. We are no longer ourselves as individuals; we become part of a greater calling. For that calling to grow and remain strong, we must be able to trust one another to live within the parameters we jointly establish for ourselves. Mr. Schaefer has indicated by his actions and his continued, unrepentent defiance that he rejects this covenant connection and desires to place his personal viewpoints above and in front of our communal clergy connection. So be it. If he does not want to live within our covenant, he is free to find a covenant where he can live out what he believes. But he has no right or authority or freedom to “do his own thing” and place himself above the covenant.

    • Michael Arichea says:

      Pastor TR: have you ever watched “The Green Mile”? Paul: “On the day of my judgment, when I stand before God, and He asks me why did I…did I kill one of his true miracles — what am I gonna say? That it was my job?” When something horribly and terribly wrong is happening to your brothers and sisters in Christ, are you gonna say “But it was my job, it was what the covenant required” so big of you.

    • Marco Bell says:

      Pastor TR, You are absolutely correct. And it will most likely be the best, next step for ‘these’ clergy, to move onward, outside the structures of the organized (and in my opinion, regressive) denomination.
      There is no reason to take down an entire denomination to prove a point. Better to start a fresh beginning of its own.

  4. Lyle Jackson says:

    As a Christian who has worshiped in the Methodist for the past 20 years, it troubles me to see the church slide away from Biblical teachings. The Bible is a guide book for life and the guidance given on sexual immorality is explicit: no adultery, no incest, no bestiality, no homosexuality. God doesn’t weight these actions. We are instructed to not engage in any of them.
    This is not a “narrow” view of the bible. It is stated clearly in both the Old and New Testaments. People must understand that the guidance provided in the bible is not arbitrary. It is meant to direct us in a lifestyle that will endure on this earth as long as it is habitable.
    History is replete with examples of successful societies that have failed because the members chose to replace the solid moral foundation with one based upon the shifting sands of human nature…a nature based on immediate physical gratification.
    So ask yourself this question: Why are we having this discussion? We are having this discussion because we fail to learn from history. Many live in a fantasy world trying to convince each other that things will be different this time.

    • Bob says:

      Amen, Lyle. As one humble truth-speaking pastor stated while being interviewed on national TV – “I fear the disapproval of God more than yours, or the disapproval of man.”

  5. Matt Miofsky says:

    I would like to dispute one reoccurring theme in many of these comments and conversations – namely that “progressive” churches do not grow and are dying. This is not true. Conservative and liberal churches alike are in decline. Similarly, there are faithful, evangelical, growing churches that span the theological spectrum. My church, The Gathering in St. Louis, has what would be considered by many to be a progressive position on LGBT participation in the church. At the same time, our church has grown exponentially since its launch in late 2006 and percentage-wise, rivals the growth of any of United Methodism’s fastest growing congregations. We are not alone as several new and growing churches have a nuanced and evolving understanding of same-sex relationships. I also know of more conservative churches that are growing. Creative, resourceful, gospel-centered ministry that is evangelical in its outlook and passionate about inviting people to follow Christ is the hallmark of growing churches – not a particular position on same-sex relationships.

  6. John S says:

    While Joseph did show grace and love was not the first thing he showed obeidiance to God’s command? That by his heeding of God’s word grace and love was shown?

    “…Schaefer quickly pivoted to his own story…” And I do tire of sermons that revolve around the preacher and his life, actions, inspirations, hopes, challenges, etc. I’d rather hear about God.

  7. Lou A says:

    Homosexuality is plain and simple a Sin! The same as stealing, lying and so forth. Jesus said your sins are forgiven. Those who participate in this ungodly act just need to ask for forgiveness and their sins will be forgiven. All through the Bible the act of homosexuality is condemned. I applaud the Methodist church for their stand against this lifestyle.

  8. Oskar Warner says:

    The question is simple: are we going to please men or to please God? If we want to please men we must be PC, if we want to please God, we must obey His Word… and the Bible is very clear in considering the homosexual acts as a sin. So simple, so clear…

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