|On October 27, the Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church (UMC) released its decision to uphold the decision of the Committee on Appeals and Rev. Frank Schaefer will no longer have to fight for his ministerial status. In November 2013, a trial court of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the UMC found Rev. Frank Schaefer guilty of officiating the marriage of his son, Tim, to another man in 2006. The penalty assessed to Rev. Schaefer, eventually leading to the loss of ministerial credentials, was indirect and convoluted. Earlier this year, upon appeal, the Committee on Appeals of the Northeastern Jurisdiction of The United Methodist Church overturned the penalty assessed in the original trial. Last week in Memphis, TN, The United Methodist Church’s highest judicial body, Judicial Council, heard a final appeal.
“At a time when the Church stands as a painful reminder that human institutions are more concerned with legalisms than with grace, the Judicial Council has noted the errors of a process based on retribution,” states Chett Pritchett, Executive Director of the Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA). “The Methodist Federation for Social Action thanks the Judicial Council for their thoughtful and prayerful deliberation We celebrate with the Schaefer family with this resolution – and all United Methodist families who seek to love their children, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
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