Frank Schaefer reinstated as United Methodist clergy; transfers to Calif.-Pacific Conference

By Kathy L. Gilbert   June 24, 2014 | NASHVILLE, Tenn. (UMNS)

Editor’s Note: This story was updated June 25 to include comments from Jen Ihlo, the chair of the appeals panel, on the decision-making process, as well as reactions from the Rev. Rob Renfroe, president of Good News, and the Rev. Scott Campbell, who represented Frank Schaefer in the appeal.  It also includes news of the Rev. Schaefer’s transfer to the California-Pacific Conference and acceptance of a pastoral appointment there, at the invitation of Bishop Minerva Carcano and with the agreement of Bishop Peggy Johnson.

The Rev. Frank Schaefer had his ministerial credentials reinstated by a United Methodist regional appeals committee June 23, three days after a hearing held near Baltimore.

The denomination’s Northeastern Jurisdictional Committee on Appeals restored his credentials and ordered the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual (regional) Conference to compensate Schaefer fo r all lost salary and benefits dating from Dec. 19, 2013.

The committee’s ruling said “errors of church law vitiate the penalty imposed by the Trial Court,” including “the mixing and matching of penalties that are designed to be distinct” and predicating the imposition of a penalty on “a future possibility, which may or may not occur, rather than a past or present act.”  Read more.