(NYT) Methodists Reinstate Pastor, Deepening Church’s Rift Over Same-Sex Unions

The panel deemed the defrocking to be an illegitimate effort to punish Mr. Schaefer for his refusal to promise not to preside at another same-sex wedding.

Mr. Schaefer, 52, described himself as “totally elated” by the appeals panel decision, and he said he would celebrate in part by taking his son Tim, at whose same-sex wedding he officiated, to a White House gay pride event on Monday. Mr. Schaefer, who until his defrocking in December had been the pastor of Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pa., will resume his pastoral work next month in Santa Barbara, Calif., where Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño has offered him a position ministering to college students….

“This will be confirmation for traditionalists that we are deeply divided and may not be able to live together,” said the Rev. Rob Renfroe, the president of Good News, a United Methodist organization that opposes same-sex marriage. “When we have people who are not only disobedient, but who find a way to not have to keep the covenant they have made with the rest of the church, it helps us see that maybe we are so different that we’ve come to the end of the road together.”

Read it all.

Update: Get Religion now has a piece on this article there.


Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Methodist, Other Churches, Sexuality Debate (Other denominations and faiths), Theology, Theology: Scripture

3 comments on “(NYT) Methodists Reinstate Pastor, Deepening Church’s Rift Over Same-Sex Unions

  1. Adam 12 says:

    Does anyone know how the property laws work in the (I was going to type United) Methodist Church?

  2. Don C says:

    Adam, all property is owned by the UMC (it may be titled in the name of each conference; I’m not certain) and has been so since the days of Wesley. There is talk, however, of a split which would include a congregational vote of where to go. This of course would necessitate a temporary relaxation of that rule.

  3. BlueOntario says:

    It looks like a lot of groundwork is being laid for such a split to be discussed at the United Methodist Church’s next General Conference in 2016. In my neck of the woods there doesn’t seem to be any discussion at the parish level of any of these things – outside of the pastorate and odd layman there really is no idea anything like this is going on. I also suspect that as with TEC, the “progressives” who have taken over the place (whenever I type that word I feel like I need to take a shower) won’t let schism happen – sort of an ironic high-road position that I suppose they think will shame the conservative Methodists and turn the moderates on their side. It may work with the last bit, pyrrhic any such victory will be. The wild card is the African churches which are conservative and have equal standing at GC. I haven’t yet seen anything like TEC’s strategy among the African churches, yet, but not everything being done is in the daylight. In the end, I wouldn’t be surprised to see any attempt at a split to be dragged out to 2020 and beyond, or at least until the critical mass of conservatives has left out of frustration with the usual UMC bureaucracy.

    Sound familiar?