«

»

Pennsylvania pastor invited to join Cal-Pac conference

By United Methodist News Service

Frank Schaefer, who was asked Dec. 19 to surrender his ministerial credentials to the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference, has been invited to join the California-Pacific Annual Conference.

Schaefer press conf 2013 11 20 290x218 Pennsylvania pastor invited to join Cal Pac conference

Rev. Frank Schaefer responds to reporter’s questions in a news conference after his two-day church trial. A UMNS photo by Kathy L. Gilbert.

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño, who leads the Cal-Pac Conference, said in a statement Dec. 20 that with the support of Bishop Peggy Johnson of the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference:

” I invited the Rev. Frank Schaefer to come and join us in ministry in the California-Pacific Conference. At this moment Rev. Schaefer and I have agreed that he will enter into a time of prayer and discernment with his wife Brigitte and their family about whether God is calling him to life and ministry in our conference.”

Schaefer was ordered to surrender his credentials on Dec. 19 by the board of ordained ministry in the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference, after being found guilty in a Nov. 18-19 clergy trial of violating the denomination’s rules against performing same-gender weddings. Schaefer had performed a same-gender wedding for his son in 2007, and the complaint was filed against him by a church member this year.

The United Methodist Book of Discipline forbids United Methodist clergy from performing same-gender weddings, and it forbids such services from being performed in United Methodist sanctuaries. The denomination officially states that the practice of homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching” and that marriage is a covenant between a man and a woman. However, the church also affirms that all people are of sacred worth, that all are in need of the ministry of the church and that God’s grace is available to all. It implores congregations and families not to reject gay and lesbian members and friends.

In her statement, Carcaño drew a parallel between the church’s current struggle over homosexuality and its struggle five decades ago around civil rights and integration. She noted that at the California-Pacific annual gathering last June, the conference had “celebrated the visionary leadership of Bishop Gerald Kennedy,” who invited eight pastors from Mississippi to come to the church’s Western Jurisdiction in 1963 after the pastors “had been condemned and ostracized by Methodists and others for standing against racial discrimination.”

“I want you to know that on this day, following in the footsteps of Bishop Kennedy and with the support of his bishop, Bishop Peggy Johnson, I invited the Rev. Frank Schaefer to come and join us in ministry in the California-Pacific Conference,” Carcaño said.

She noted that only a board of ordained ministry and the conference’s clergy can determine whether someone should be credentialed for ministry and that she doesn’t have the authority to reinstate Schaefer’s credentials. “What I can do, however, is invite and welcome others to love and serve Christ Jesus among us, accompany those who choose to be faithful, and exhort us all to be biblically obedient. This I will do for as long as God gives me breath.”

The bishop described the Book of Discipline as “an imperfect book of human law that violates the very spirit of Jesus the Christ who taught us through word and deed that all God’s children are of sacred worth and welcomed into the embrace of God’s grace.”

She said it is time for United Methodists to “stand on the side of Jesus” and declare that the church is wrong in its position on homosexuality. “Frank Schaefer chose to stand with Jesus as he extended love and care to his gay son and his partner. We should stand with him and others who show such courage and faithfulness.”

Carcaño’s invitation came as Schaefer’s case drew heavy news coverage. The same day, Bishop John Schol of the Greater New Jersey Area issued a video statement in which he spoke about Schaefer’s journey, expressed affirmation to gays and lesbians as “children of God, of sacred worth,” and called for the church to stop using clergy trials in handling these situations.

Carcaño’s full statement follows:

Bishop Carcaño’s Invitation to Rev. Frank Schaefer

Brothers and Sisters,

At our annual conference session earlier this year we celebrated the visionary leadership of Bishop Gerald Kennedy who in 1963 invited to come to the West 8 Methodist pastors from Mississippi who had been condemned and ostracized by Methodists and others for standing against racial discrimination.

Among the 8 who came from Mississippi to become a part of the ministry in what is now the California-Pacific Conference were the Rev. Inman Moore and the Rev. Ed McRae. We rejoiced when these two surviving pastors stood among us this past June and shared with us a word of deep witness of what it meant to be supported and welcomed.

I want you to know that on this day following in the footsteps of Bishop Kennedy and with the support of his bishop, Bishop Peggy Johnson, I invited the Rev. Frank Schaefer to come and join us in ministry in the California-Pacific Conference. At this moment Rev. Schaefer and I have agreed that he will enter into a time of prayer and discernment with his wife Brigitte and their family about whether God is calling him to life and ministry in our conference.

“While I recognize that our brother Frank has been defrocked by those in authority in his conference, I believe that those who have acted in such a way have done so in obedience to the Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, an imperfect book of human law that violates the very spirit of Jesus the Christ who taught us through word and deed that all God’s children are of sacred worth and welcomed into the embrace of God’s grace. I believe that the time has come for we United Methodists to stand on the side of Jesus and declare in every good way that the United Methodist Church is wrong in its position on homosexuality, wrong in its exclusion of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, and wrong in its incessant demand to determine through political processes who can be fully members of the body of Christ. Frank Schaefer chose to stand with Jesus as he extended love and care to his gay son and his partner. We should stand with him and others who show such courage and faithfulness.

umns13 210 carcano 290x193 Pennsylvania pastor invited to join Cal Pac conference

United Methodist Bishop Minerva Carcaño addresses the Western Jurisdictional Conference of the United Methodist Church during its July 2012 meeting in San Diego. A UMNS file photo courtesy of the Pacific Northwest Conference Communications Team.

“At our 2013 annual conference session you the lay and clergy members of the California-Pacific Conference determined that you would be biblically obedient, excluding no one from our care or ministry, and committing to work to eliminate any barriers that would prohibit anyone from being included in our covenantal life together or our witness to Christ Jesus. You declared that you were acting out of the belief that God’s grace and love are available to all persons. This decision of the conference was challenged. As the presiding officer I had the responsibility of issuing a ruling of law in response to the challenge. I ruled that the conference had the right to express the hope of many in The United Methodist Church that the day will come when inclusion and justice will be extended to all God’s people. I further ruled that the conference had the right to give witness to the belief that The United Methodist Church is in error when it states that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching. My ruling of law was upheld by the Judicial Council of our denomination. In inviting Frank Schaefer to come and join us in ministry and witness, I am choosing to stand with you and to lead us in being biblically obedient.

“I acknowledge that I do not have the authority to restore the ministerial credentials that Frank Schaefer has lost. Only a board of ordained ministry can recommend such a reinstatement of credentials, and only the ordained clergy of an annual conference can determine whether a person will be credentialed for ordained ministry. What I can do, however, is invite and welcome others to love and serve Christ Jesus among us, accompany those who choose to be faithful, and exhort us all to be biblically obedient. This I will do for as long as God gives me breath.”

Your Sister in Christ,

Bishop Minerva G. Carcaño

 

46 comments

1 ping

Skip to comment form

  1. WAD

    Dear United Methodist News Service,

    You are doing an exemplary job of dragging the UMC through the mud on its national website right here before Christmas. Is this your Christmas gift to the people you work for? You would respond that you’re only reporting the news. Really? And the way that you portray this conflict is nothing short of the best in left wing secular style reporting. Your portrayal of the church as a discriminating, hard hearted, and entrenched entity out to get these poor, innocent gay movement victims, as if the church, forty years ago, initiated this conflict. You present the Book of Discipline as some repressive, ill conceived , thrown together, arbitrarily rule book forced on the people called Methodists against their will, while you present those demanding that it either be changed or ignored as people of the utmost goodwill, integrity, honor, courage, wisdom, neighborly love, and prophetic insight. To you, those challenging the BOD are heroes and those defending it are villains.

    Wonder what it would be like to go to the UMC website without this constantly all over its front page or reading one of these articles with the welfare of the church considered as well as the welfare of those challenging it?

  2. dan

    Dear Roy Schmidt, i do not know you. So responding to words you write about the certainty you have about your sexual identity as given to you by the Creator is fraught with being interpretted as harmful. However, Given that which is a stake I believe response is needed. 1. The fact that you say no studies will chnge your understanding shows your bias discredits most of what you say. 2. The christian understandung of creation and the fall has always helped us ask this question, “Is what we experience in creation and even in our biological self a reflection of God’s initial purposes for creation or a reflection of the falleness of existance? In NT words , creation captive to decay. 3. Biblical theology and anthropology gives foundational priority to God’s gift of our identity as God Male and Female made in God’s image and made for each other. After the fall, these identies and call to be for each other was corrupted y selfishness, blaming, sexual explotation and manipulatiion. Could it even be that the biology of sexual identity was corrupted by the fall and one of the reflections of this corruption is same-sex attraction?

    1. Roy Schmitt

      Oy Dan…! I don’t even know where to start with your response. Let me just ask you before I begin… Do you believe that Noah gathered up EVERY living thing on the ark? And I mean, as the Bible says, EVERY spieces of insect, fish, mammal, amphibian, dinosaur, plant and on and on. Because if you believe that, truly believe that, then my reasoning with you is ended.
      1. ” your bias discredits most of what you say” Since I don’t know you, for the sake of this discussion I’ll assume you are straight. Not a difficult conclusion. Since you know the Creator made you heterosexual, no study conducted will ever convince you otherwise. I am that certain, since I live in my body and mind, that my God created me gay. Let me ask you, When did you realize that you were heterosexual?
      2. I have no idea what you are trying to say. If you are talking about procreation that’s certainly debatable.
      3. Wow, the FALL has truly been twisted into something so complicated from what is written. My interpretation is simple. We ate of the apple allowing us to know right from wrong and as such created the ability to sin. I guess, until you really get to know some gay folk and some transgender folk we don’t have anything to debate here. I’ll give you one thing to think about – anthropologists have given no such foundational priority (whatever that means) to any gift of the creator and especially as to the creation of male and female. Many civilizations recognized the existence of homosexuality and transgender (not labeled as such) and in some cases (India / native Americans and others) raised them to a high level in their society. Native Americans called them “Two Spirited”. It wasn’t until these places were colonized by the puritan Christians that these ancient peoples adopted the prohibitions of the Judeo-Christian writings.
      Before telling me who I am and how I came to be…. get to know some of us. The law of God was simplified by my Savior. I am a Christian who was instructed by my Christ to love my God with all my heart, mind, soul and to love my fellow human as I love myself. Period, case closed. All the other mumbo-jumbo that you spout does nothing to change that. I know in my heart of hearts that I am a good person; created as I am by my God; loved and affirmed by my God and destined to paradise while I follow the great commandments of Jesus Christ.

  3. Peggy

    One of the main responsibilities of a bishop of the United Methodist Church is to “see that the rules and regulations developed by the General Conference are carried out”. It doesn’t sound like Bishop Minerva G. Carcano is willing to submit to the rules and regulations herself when she encourages Frank Schaefer to minister in her conference.This is just the kind of behavior that causes further confusion and schism within the UMC. If Frank Schaefer loses his ministerial credentials for breaking UMC rules, what happens to a bishop who doesn’t fulfill her duties? Shouldn’t she be required to surrender her credentials?

    1. Dave Willard

      It’s called leadership! We don’t need policemen.

  4. Jeff

    I am confused about this and it looks crazy to me.

  5. Kevin

    Without enforcement of the rules we get chaos. Eventually the only rules that will be enforced are those that can be resolved in the secular courts with respect to property and trusts. This is where the Episcopal Church finds itself today.

  6. Jesus

    With this kind of “idiotic conduct by a UMC Cal-Pac Conference bishop” going on, UMC should get rid of the “Episcopal polity”, get rid of this bishop , and change all UCM churches into local congregation driven! We don’t need UMC conference. What a waste!

    By definition, UMC rules states that if a ministrial credentials are invalidated by a conference, such a person no longer can serve in ministrial capacity ANYWHERE in the world!

    How come, this Cal-Pacific Bishop changes a rule by herself, and brings this person back into Cal-Pac conference to minister to others? What is behind this?

  7. Joel

    Does this mean that I can stop doing year end reporting and charge conference reports? Because I really, really don’t like them. Doing them goes against the way I’m wired. And if I don’t like doing such reports, and I’m certain in my soul that I don’t like doing paperwork, that’s enough, right? I mean – I REALLY don’t like doing pastoral paperwork. Just ask my DS. And besides, my charge is fine. Anyone can see that. And I know best how to run my ministry. So screw it. I’m done doing paperwork and reporting – no matter what the Book of Discipline says. And while we’re at it, can I stop paying some apportionments, too? Some of those ministries are ineffective jokes… Wait … What? What’s that you say? “Shared Covenant.” Friend, that circuit-riding horse has left the barn, and we’ve traded her for anarchy.

  8. Terry

    I believe it is time to start demanding the taking of the credentials of these rogue bishops. If they are not going to uphold the Book of Discipline, then they should find another church to serve in.

  9. James Grimes

    How do you spell APOSTASY?

  10. Robert

    This may be a moot point to those who still want to argue but according to the Book of Discipline para. 368 of the 2012 version. Only the Conference where he lost his credentials can reinstate him. For Bishop Carcano to make this offer, she apparently has failed to research the BoD. Of course those who may not agree with this will chastise me and call me a hate-monger, bigot, etc… I just ask for the same respect that you demand.

  1. Bishop Schol addresses Schaefer case, clergy trials - United Methodist Connections

    […] « Pennsylvania pastor invited to join Cal-Pac conference […]

Comments have been disabled.