To celebrate the first anniversary of the decision made by First UMC, Austin to affiliate as a congregation with the Reconciling Ministries Network (RMN), they have invited the Reverend Frank Schaefer to share his witness at their Reconciling Ministries Service at First Church on Sunday, April 27 in the evening.
In February 2013, First Church Austin chose to add its voice to the struggle for full inclusion of LGBTQ persons in a year in which opposition to such inclusion has hardened in The United Methodist Church. For example, the Reverend Frank Schaefer, pastor of a small United Methodist Church in eastern Pennsylvania, officiated at the private marriage ceremony for his gay son and partner in Massachusetts in 2007 –not as an act of protest, but as an act of love and pastoral care for his son. In this past year, he was brought up on charges of disobedience to the Discipline of The United Methodist Church and found guilty. The prosecution for the church argued that the severest penalty should be imposed on the Reverend Schaefer to serve as a deterrent to other ministers. Consequently, he was “defrocked,” i.e., he had to surrender his ministerial credentials. Plan to attend and hear his powerful witness.