Bishop Minerva Carcaño of the Los Angeles Episcopal Area announced yesterday that she has invited Frank Schaefer to serve in ministry in the California-Pacific Annual Conference. Schaefer was removed from ministry in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference last week as a penalty for conducting the same-sex wedding service of his son.
In a statement published on the California-Pacific Annual Conference website, Carcaño said that she was following in the spirit of Bishop Gerald Kennedy who had brought 8 Mississippi Methodist pastors out west during the civil rights battles of the 1960′s when they were being criticized and attacked for standing against racial discrimination. Carcaño stated that she had offered the invitation to Schaefer with the support of his current bishop, Peggy Johnson.
Carcaño did not articulate a specific appointment, and said that she and Schaefer, along with his family, were entering into a time of discernment regarding the possible move to California.
Carcaño acknowledged that she held no power to reinstate Schaefer’s ministerial credentials. “Only a board of ordained ministry can recommend such a reinstatement of credentials, and only the ordained clergy of an annual conference can determine whether a person will be credentialed for ordained ministry,” she wrote. “What I can do, however, is invite and welcome others to love and serve Christ Jesus among us, accompany those who choose to be faithful, and exhort us all to be biblically obedient. This I will do for as long as God gives me breath.”
“I believe that the time has come for we United Methodists to stand on the side of Jesus and declare in every good way that the United Methodist Church is wrong in its position on homosexuality,” Carcaño wrote. “Frank Schaefer chose to stand with Jesus as he extended love and care to his gay son and his partner. We should stand with him and others who show such courage and faithfulness.”
Click here to read Bishop Carcaño’s full statement.