United Methodist defrocked pastor, Frank Schaefer returns to Foundry for service of Hope and Justice

Thursday, January 16, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. –Frank Schaefer of Lebanon, PA, whom church officials defrocked as a clergyman last month on December 19 for violating church law, is returning to preach at historic Foundry United Methodist Church, on January 26 for its 9:30 AM and 11:00 AM services. The service of Hope and Justice will also include two other United Methodist defrocked pastors, Jimmy Creech and Beth Stroud. Creech and Stroud had high profile church trials in 1999 (Creech) and 2001 (Stroud). A panel discussion of all guests will follow the 11:00 AM worship service. The service and panel discussion will be live-streamed, www.foundryumc.org.


Two months ago in late November, Schaefer was convicted in a Pennsylvania church trial and subsequently sentenced to a 30-day suspension for performing his son’s same-sex wedding (in 2007). During his suspension, church officials called on Schaefer to use his time to discern whether he could uphold the denomination’s Book of Discipline, (church law) ‘in its entirety.’ He had to promise that he would not perform another same-sex marriage.


At the conclusion of the 30 days, Schaefer appeared before his conference’s Board of Ordained Ministry and conveyed that he could not uphold The United Methodist Church’s position on homosexuality, nor would he voluntarily surrender his credentials. Church officials then defrocked him.


Schaefer came to preach at Foundry at the invitation of senior minister, the Rev. Dean Snyder, three days after he was defrocked. During the service, Schaefer and his wife, Brigitte along with two of their four adult children, joined Foundry church.


While The United Methodist Church calls on its congregation members to accept lesbians and gays as members, its position on homosexuality is that, ‘it is incompatible with Christian teaching.’ Further, it forbids pastors from conducting same-sex marriages and same-sex marriages cannot be celebrated in its churches.


Foundry continues the push for The United Methodist Church to end the discriminatory language in the Book of Discipline. Foundry is on the fore front of full inclusion of the LGBTQ community in the life of the church.


Contact: Rev. Dawn M. Hand (202) 332-4010


Excerpt of Foundry UMC statement after the November Schaefer trial.

…Like Rev. Schaefer, we believe in marriage equality as a biblical principle. We believe in the full inclusion of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people in the life of the church. We believe this because we believe in Christ’s message of love and inclusion. We believe the long United Methodist history and tradition also leads us to the same conclusion.


As United Methodists, we are committed to walking with our brothers and sisters across the globe to reach more people, to touch more lives and to continue growing to be a catalyst for change by responding to God's call.


LGBT Christians are and have always been a part of The United Methodist Church. They are a big part of our community at Foundry, and we are stronger—much stronger—because of them. We strive to be a community that welcomes all of God’s children. We are committed to ending the pain inflicted by Christians on our LGBT brothers and sisters.


*Foundry is a historic, progressive United Methodist Church that welcomes all, worships passionately, challenges the status quo and seeks to transform the world through God's love. To read entire statement, updates and more visit… www.foundryumc.org.