Schaefer trial: Jury receiving testimony in the penalty phase

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UMNS photo by Kathy Gilbert

SPRING CITY, Pa. — The jury in the trial of the Rev. Frank Schaefer convened this morning to receive testimony in preparation for their deliberations regarding the Schaefer’s penalty. Schaefer was found guilty by this jury yesterday for conducting a same-sex wedding and disobedience to the order of the United Methodist Church.

According to the United Methodist Book of Discipline (and affirmed recently by the church’s Judicial Council) the jury has the sole discretion for determining Schaefer’s penalty.

This morning’s testimony has come from Schaefer’s District Superintendent, the Rev. James Todd of the Southwest District of the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference. Schaefer had testified yesterday that he had provided a written notification of his presiding at the wedding to his superintendent after performing the ceremony. Todd testified this morning that he had not read Schaefer’s 2006 clergy profile, and thus was not aware that Schaefer had conducted the ceremony.

One of the issues raised in yesterday’s testimony by Jon Bogle, the church member who had filed the complaint leading to the trial was division in the Zion UMC of Iona where Schaefer is the pastor. Rev. Todd testified that Schaefer’s performing the same-sex wedding was not a source of conflict in the church, but that there were other conflicts present. Bogle testified yesterday that he had filed the complaint soon after his mother was asked to resign as the organist of the church. Todd confirmed this morning that was one of several issues which had divided the church in recent months. Todd said that the church has seen a significant drop in attendance since July.

The jury will also be hearing this morning from two members of the Zion UMC at Iona. There has been no word on who will testify for the defense.

Jay Voorhees, Former Executive Editor

The Rev. Jay Voorhees is the Executive Editor of The United Methodist Reporter and the Chief Creative Officer for CircuitWriter Media LLC which operates this site and MethoBlog.com. Jay is an ordained elder in the Tennessee Annual Conference. Jay has written on life and the practice of faith in The United Methodist Church at Only Wonder Understands since 2003.

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14 Comments on "Schaefer trial: Jury receiving testimony in the penalty phase"

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The United Methodist Reporter wants to encourage lively conversation about The United Methodist Church and our articles in the belief that Christian conversation (what Wesley would call conferencing) is a means of grace. While we support passionate debate, we cannot allow language that demeans or demonizes others, and we reserve the right to delete any comment we believe to be harmful or inappropriate. We encourage all to remember that we are all broken and in need of Christ's grace, and that we all see through the glass darkly until that time we when reach full perfection in love. May your speech here be tempered with love, and reflection of the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. After all, "There is no law against things like this." (Galatians 5:22-23)
 
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Hayden
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Leviticus 5-8 tell me Wes, do you follow these verses? later it tells us how shellfish is an abomination? I do not believe the church follows these verses clearly defined in the bible. However the verses clearly when a woman gives birth to a female she is unclean for 66 days. Later it goes onto subscribe appropriate sacrifices for hitting a child. Atee you aware of anyone in any of your congregations performing such sacrifices? if not they are clearly ( by your logic) unfit for the Methodist church. However apparently too you some verses in the bible carry more… Read more »
Wes Andrews
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Actually, isn't it interesting that it's okay for political liberals in the church to be intolerant and judgmental, based on what? Their feelings and their self-centered definition of "love." But when an entire denomination follows a very open process of determining its identity, well then that's threatening Galileo? Really? And then when we follow Scripture, Jesus Christ is unjust. And if we stand for Biblical marriage then we're Pat Robertson's church? Sorry, that's crazy and desperate. Matt. 19:4 And He answered and said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning MADE THEM MALE AND FEMALE,… Read more »
Hayden
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Are you saying the church cannot make mistakes? Or are you saying we have nothing left to learn? The Christian church in general and the Methodist church itself has made mistakes. Let's not forget a time in our history when African Americans were not openly accepted into our church. It's not about politics or which denomination you belong to. it's about spreading LOVE and not worrying about why some are less of a Christian than you. The only person I have to answer to is God, and deep in my heart I know He would want me to spend my… Read more »
Wes Andrews
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Hayden I agree with you. Nothing makes one better than another. Yes, I also agree with you that those in the church have made terrible mistakes and I completely agree there is much to be learned. I been connected with many different UMCs. They all were very tolerant and accepting, even though many in those churches, probably most, would acknowledge that there is a Biblical view of marriage. It doesn't mean they hate. It doesn't mean that they don't care. It doesn't mean that they are homophobic. It simply reflects that they have a high value of the Scripture. This… Read more »
Lauren Swanson
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I envy those who are so certain they know what God "says." The more I study, the more abstract God becomes and the more I see the taint of human self-interest in religious doctrine.

Jay
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Wes Andrews, the UMC is becoming ever more like Pat Robertson's Church. The loon who brought the complaint against Rev. Schaefer is an admirer of Robertson. I imagine a lot of the bloodthirsty people who are calling for punishment against Rev. Schaefer want the UMC to be remade in the image of Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. Just as the Roman Catholic Church was wrong to persecute Galileo, so the UMC is wrong to persecute those who choose love rather than an unjust law.

TigerBead
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God's definition of marriage is extremely clear. We have no right to redefine marriage. If we do, we are placing ourselves above God. If we do, our actions would be saying, "we know better than God what is right and wrong." As for me, even though it isn't easy, I'm going to let God set the standards and with the help of the Holy Spirit, live them out to God's glory..

Ken Van
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Which Biblical definition of marriage? Abraham (Sarah, Hagar); David and Solomon with their multiple wives and concubines; Hosea who God told to marry a whore?

Hayden
Guest

God also tells us not to judge others. how often do you use your faith as a tool against others who only want acceptance? In the eyes of God I was created equal to you. But in the eyes of the church I am less of a man? This is hardly what God intended.

Tom
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Last time I checked, the Bible was not written by God Him (or Her) self. Not to mention that the Bible we know today has been through so may translations and many of the original words do have multiple meaning in current language. This says nothing about the fact that the views that are leading to this discussion are in direct opposition to the "Open Doors. Open Hearts." campain of the UMC.

Wes Andrews
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Wow, Schaeffer is like Galileo, and that would make the UMC like the Roman Catholic Church in the 17th century. The UMC, that for forty plus years has listened to every voice. The UMC that has been gracious. The UMC that is full of grace and care for all kinds of people including homosexual folk. Talk about an extreme connection. No, Rev. Schaeffer make a commitment like the rest of us when he was ordained. We committed to uphold the covenant in the BOD. Have you studied the doctrines of The United Methodist Church? We all were asked to make… Read more »
Kathryn
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I believe in same sex marriages, but regarding this case, I agree with Wes. Scaefer may very well be right about his beliefs regarding same sex marriages, but this case isn't about Christianity or whether same sex marriages are right or wrong. This case is simply about legal contract and breach of trust. When a pastor takes a vow to uphold the doctrine of the UMC he needs to uphold it, or find another venue to preach that has a doctrine he believes in. You can't, as a pastor, make vows to an institution then break trust and go off… Read more »
Hayden
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Telling someone to leave the church because they have different views is hardly a Christian response Wes. I am gay and wanted to have my home town pastor preside over my wedding and for fear of losing her job she said no. The fact that I will be spending the rest of my life with a man has no impact on you whatsoever, and choosing to waste your time and energy on hate is not what the UMC is about. In Sunday school as a child I was taught to show love compassion and kindness for all of God's children.… Read more »
bill krill
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Just because the Church silenced Galileo, ordered him to recant, threatened to excommunicate him, and sentenced him to life in isolation did not mean that he was wrong about the earth not being the center of the universe. You can't silence truth, and the truth is, love trumps gender, sex, and cultural conventions of what marriage is.

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