RCM: Another clergy member facing church trial

In a commentary on biblical obedience at The Reconciling Ministries Network blog we learn of another clergy member about to face trial for performing a same-sex wedding:

Rev. Frank Schaefer, elder at Zion United Methodist Church of Iona in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, performed the wedding of his son Tim and his partner over 5 years ago. Out of love for his son and his commitment to the gospel of inclusion for LGBT persons, Schaefer made the decision to lead the ceremony in order to fulfill his calling to the ministry of all people.

via Biblical Obedience on trial.

The article goes on to mention a total of four clergy that are facing complaints or charges related to homosexuality issues. Are you aware of other pending actions in your annual conferences related to what RMN calls “biblical obedience”?


  1. On Labor Day weekend, retired Bishop Melvin Talbert officiated at a wedding of a gay couple on Saturday, and in a very public way BLESSED and CELEBRATED the same-sex relationships of the gay couples in attendance at the Sunday evening worship service at Metropolitan United Methodist Church in Washington DC. The Sunday evening service was entirely framed as a wedding service–using the words of the official United Methodist wedding service. Bishop Talbert preached on "Biblical Obedience" and proclaimed the same-sex couples "married" during the Sunday evening service. He also claims that the ENTIRE college of bishops of the Western Jurisdiction stands with him.

    Here is a link to a video of the worship service on Sunday:

    Because of the support the Western Jurisdiction is giving to Bishop Talbert's "Biblical Obedience" movement, I doubt charges will be filed for this clear breach of the laws of the United Methodist Church.

    This action seems schismatic to me. It seems like the birth of a new denomination. The very public violation of our Book of Discipline that occurred on Sunday evening might be compared to John Wesley's rather spurious ordination of Thomas Coke–which led to the organization of a new church.

    I hope you will follow-up on this story with an in-depth article.

    I am also aware of a similar situation in the Western Jurisdiction. Last September, a United Methodist minister from Washington state was interviewed by CBS Sunday Morning about her support of same-sex marriage. CBS also interviewed a lesbian couple whose union Monica Corsaro blessed. To my knowledge, no charges have been filed (in accordance with the Western Jurisdiction's policy to ignore provisions of the Book of Discipline). It seems to me that Rev Corsaro and Bishop Bledsoe would be happy to deal with this in a church legal battle since they have both been so public about their disobedience to church law.

    Here is a link to the report (and video) from CBS This Morning

    Can the United Methodist Church deal with these breaches of church discipline when an entire jurisdiction chooses to ignore them? I don't know, but the possibility should be explored. May God help us all.

  2. I believe it is a matter of biblical conscience, for Dr. Talbert. This is something the church is simply going to have to accept. Gay and Lesbian Christians want to be married, and they should have this option. I do not believe the Bible condemns committed same-gender relationships, and I believe the United Methodist Church will have to evolve on this issue.

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