MFSA issues statement on Schaefer Credentials

Washington, DC — Methodists for Social Action (MFSA)  has released a statement in response to the removal of the clergy credentials for the Rev. Frank Schaefer by the Board of Ordained Ministry of the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference earlier today:

MFSA_sqThirty days following the penalty handed down by a trial court in the Eastern Pennsylvania (regional) Conference of The United Methodist Church, Rev. Frank Schaefer has been defrocked by the Board of Ordained Ministry of that same Conference. Schaefer was found guilty in a church trial this past November of celebrating the wedding of his son, Tim, and another man more than five years ago. Schafer was instructed to report if he would uphold church doctrine and not officiate at future same-gender unions. In a press conference on Tuesday, Schaefer made clear his intention to continue his ministry and not voluntarily surrender his clergy credentials.

“Today is a sad day in the life of The United Methodist Church,” states Chett Pritchett, executive director of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA). “In these Advent days, we hear about God’s love made incarnate and God delighting in justice and joy, yet in stark contrast The United Methodist Church continues to say to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) people and those who are in ministry with them that injustice rules the day.”

Beginning in 1972, the United Methodist Book of Discipline has included discriminatory language against gay and lesbian persons. Discrimination was further codified with an ordination ban in 1984 and a union/marriage ban in 1996. For over 40 years, MFSA has worked with a growing coalition of organizations seeking to overturn such discriminatory policies and work for justice within The United Methodist Church.

“This action by both the trial court and the Board of Ordained Ministry is indicative of the deep pain caused by the discriminatory language in our Book of Discipline, the homophobia and heterosexism that is pervasive in our Church, and the inability of church leaders to lead from their hearts and embrace the fullness of Christ’s charge to ‘love one another,’” Pritchett states. “True leadership requires willingness to be vulnerable and seek a way forward that encourages vital ministry with those who find themselves on the margins of the Church without engaging in acts of retribution. Church trials accomplish nothing but perpetuation of pain inflicted on LGBTQ people and those who minister with them. It’s time to stop the trials!”

MFSA is an independent organization of United Methodists working to promote ministries of justice in the UMC. MFSA has been involved for many years in attempts to change the language of the United Methodist Book of Discipline on the inclusion of GLBT persons in the life of the church.

UMReporter Staff

This story was posted by a staff member of The United Methodist Reporter. For over 160 years The United Methodist Reporter has been helping the people called Methodist to tell their stories. If you have stories that you think need to be told, please let us know at

Facebook Twitter 

Leave a Reply

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)
2 Comment threads
1 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
3 Comment authors
MatildaWes AndrewsRobert Sparkman Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Wes Andrews
Wes Andrews

This organization has been working to destroy United Methodism and it’s commitment to Scriptural justice for years.


I am interested in reading Mr. Andrews further explanation of his general remark. How is MFSA working to destroy UMC?

Robert Sparkman

I do not believe that Rev. Schaefer should not have been defrocked. I heard this had happened but could not believe it when I found out the it was the Methodist. Judge not.

%d bloggers like this: