UM Action responds to Schaefer defrocking

John Lomperis, Director of UM Action

John Lomperis, Director of UM Action

Washington, DC — John Lomperis, the director of United Methodist Action, has issued a statement regarding yesterday’s action by the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference Board of Ordained Ministry(BOM) to remove the ministerial credentials for Frank Schaefer. Schaefer was convicted in November of conducting a same-sex wedding service (he son’s).

Schaefer had been given a 30 day suspension to determine if he would be able to uphold the UM Book of Discipline “in its entirety” or else lose his credentials. Schaeffer told the BOM yesterday that he could not do so, and that he would not voluntarily surrender his credentials. The BOM then said that his credentials were in fact surrendered. Schaefer has said that he would appeal the penalty. 

In response to yesterday’s actions, Lomperis wrote:

“In the penalty, the jury of Schaefer’s clergy peers was very gracious, giving him a 30-day suspension period to either re-commit to following our church’s biblical covenant or to surrender his credentials as a United Methodist minister.

“I commend Eastern Pennsylvania UMC officials for upholding our biblical standards and protecting the vitality of local churches from further destruction like what Mr. Schaefer brought to his former congregation.

“Church officials acted with integrity, dignity, and grace through this process. I lament that the same cannot be truthfully said about Schaefer and many of his supporters. I invite my fellow evangelical United Methodists to pray for Frank Schaefer as he enters this time of transition.

“This outcome should surprise no one who understands how United Methodism works. Conference officials did the only thing they could do, after bending over backwards to be gracious to Mr. Schaefer and offer him opportunities for restoration. He was not the first United Methodist minister to be defrocked for crossing these lines and will not be the last.

“The United Methodist Book of Discipline is very clear that we do not allow our ministers to bless same-sex unions, yet Schaefer’s supporters supposedly cannot believe that Schaefer would face any consequences for violating the Discipline. His sentence was clear, but they are acting shocked that its terms were followed with integrity.

“This episode highlights the importance of churches in all traditions protecting themselves and the cause of Christ by carefully screening would-be pastors for biblical grounding and moral character, and having effective means of accountability.”

United Methodist Action is a division of The Institute on Religion & Democracy, a conservative advocacy group that has long advocated for the retention of the current language in the UM Book of Discipline on the place 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

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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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Mary Page

The Book of Discipline was held as equal to the bible it is not. The bible says to love anyway and find a solution. If Christ did not take the time to specifically point out homosexuality why are we?

Nolen Holcomb
Nolen Holcomb

This represents the same ole conservative fundamentalist evangelical passion for condemnation and punishment without the welcoming inclusive love advocated, lived, and proclaimed by the Christ of the New Testament…no love, no justice, and no mercy. It represents the continually demonstrated want for power and control, so rampant in the extreme evangelical predators of the last many years.


This represents the continually demonstrated want for power and control, so rampant in the extreme liberal bullies, a small, small percentage of the society / membership who insist on having their way with rule by tyranny rather than obey the rules and regulations they took an oath to uphold. If you don’t like the rule, change it; willful disregard for rules we don’t agree with is anarchy. Anarchy is no way to exist for any collective of individuals.

pastor joe grasser

I saw no grace in the actions of our church, the false grace of asking him to surrender his credentials because the church did not have the courage to take them. They knew he would not surrender them, we have become the church of the Pharisees not the church of Christ. The battle will continue he is not alone. We had a tradition of no people of color may worship with us in the same pews. we had a tradition of no ordination of women all defended by bibical proof. My congregation is heart broken by this trial and conviction.… Read more »

Michael Guertin

WHom do you believe in? WHo is your God? When you teach someone it is okay to sin so that no one is offended, do you think God will be okay with that? God’s Son is the judge, not some American social progressive. Think about that. We all have to think about it and when we choose to please ourselves or others people rather than God who wrote the rules we break the rules ourselves. It is better to suffer loneliness and rejection for God’s sake than overdo grace for the approval soft-headed socially correct attitudes and face the wrath… Read more »


Simple and easy if any pastor do no agree to respect the Discipline. Go and found another religion group who support your believes.


This is gross B.S., either you follow the traditional values of the Judeo-Christian doctrine or you don’t. No one is forced to join with a religion, if you disagree with the church, just leave. Simple solution.

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