Statement from Bishop Peggy Johnson:
Mr. Arthur B. Schirmer, formerly the pastor of Reeders United Methodist Church, was arrested today, and is being charged with criminal homicide in the death of his wife, Betty Jean Schirmer, who died on July 15, 2008.
We mourn the death of Mrs. Schirmer, who led an active role in the ministry of Reeders UMC; her loss was a deep loss to the congregation. We are deeply saddened by this difficult situation.
Mr. Schirmer had formerly served as a licensed local pastor in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church. Beginning in 1970, he served the following appointments: Big Creek: Salem UMC, Lehighton: Ebenezer UMC, Middle Creek: Timothy UMC, Weissport: Ebenezer UMC, Bainbridge: Ludwig UMC, Marietta UMC, and Lebanon: Bethany UMC. Most recently he served Reeders United Methodist Church in Reeders, PA, from 2001 to 2008.
On November 14, 2008, he withdrew from the United Methodist Church under complaint, and surrendered his ministerial credentials (resigned). He is no longer a minister in the United Methodist Church.
The Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Reeders United Methodist Church have fully cooperated with authorities throughout their investigation.
This has been a difficult time for Reeders United Methodist Church as it continues its important ministry in the Reeders community.
Please keep Mr. Schirmer and his family in your prayers. Please also keep Rev. Timothy Fisher, pastor of Reeders UMC, the Reeders congregation and community, and all affected by this situation in your prayers.