November 21, 2014

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Defrocked pastor advocates for LGBQT community

Frank Schaefer, a former United Methodist pastor from Lebanon, Pa., speaks to a large crowd gathered at First United Methodist Church of Oberlin on Thursday. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

Frank Schaefer, a former United Methodist pastor from Lebanon, Pa., speaks to a large crowd gathered at First Church in Oberlin on Thursday. KRISTIN BAUER | CHRONICLE

OBERLIN — One phone call changed Frank Schaefer’s life.

It was the moment that he found out his son was gay.

An ordained United Methodist minister, Schaefer believed his son hid his feelings from him because of their close ties to the church — one that condemns homosexuality. His son’s fear of disapproval was so strong, he later found out, that he was contemplating suicide.

“He cried himself to sleep many nights and he prayed to be normal. He decided it would be better to be gone,” Schaefer said.

Fourteen years ago, Schaefer told his son that he accepted him. That he still loved him.

Acceptance from his church in Lebanon, Pa., however, was a different story.

On Thursday, Schaefer visited First Church in Oberlin to discuss how he was defrocked for officiating at the 2007 gay marriage of his son. Schaefer’s visit to Oberlin came just after a federal judge ruled that Ohio must recognize out-of-state same-sex marriages.

He was joined in a panel discussion by Cornelius Graves IV, an Oberlin College prospective seminarian; the Rev. Mark Hollingsworth, an Episcopal bishop of the Diocese of Ohio; and Yvonne Zimmerman, associate professor of Christian ethics at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio.

Since he was banned from the United Methodist Church, Schaefer has toured the country in support of same-sex marriages and has pushed for the church’s acceptance of them. Schaefer said he never meant to be an activist, but the church’s actions spurred him to speak out.

Schaefer said he was honored when his son asked him to officiate at the wedding. Although the United Methodist Church Book of Discipline bars clergy from performing same-sex marriages or civil unions, he said, “There was no way in Hell that I could say no.”

After the wedding, Schaefer was required to attend a church trial for the violation. On the second day of the trial, he donned a rainbow stole, refused to comply with a mandate to refrain from taking part in such activities in the future and said, “I cannot be silent any longer; I must speak out for the (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer and Transgender/Transsexual) community.”

As a result, the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference Board of Ordained Ministry revoked Schaefer’s clergy credentials — something that Schaefer is appealing, according to the United Methodist News Service.

The United Methodist News Service reports that since 1972 the Book of Discipline has stated that all people are of sacred worth, but “the practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching.”

United Methodist Church law says that marriage is to be between a man and a woman and bans United Methodist clergy from performing and churches from hosting “ceremonies that celebrate homosexual unions.”

The church’s rule cannot change until the next General Conference in 2016.

Schaefer, who has three gay children, said he cannot support those portions of the Book of Discipline, but he keeps his faith in God.

“It’s amazing where we are now,” he said. “I was contemplating not ever going back to the church because of what happened, because I was so hurt.”

Schaefer said that while many protested his actions, more stood behind him, including members of the church, which he said is split on same-sex marriage.

He said he will continue to meet with those who feel that their church has abandoned them, and he hopes that discussion will change the minds of those in power.

“What people have meant for harm, God has turned into something beautiful, and I’m so proud to be a part of that,” he said.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com. Follow her on Twitter @ChelseaMillerCT.


  • SniperFire

    This is news?

    Why not report that the President of the United States was caught baldface lying to the American public TWICE yesterday?

    And this story is of no interest to readers in Lorain County?:

    Proof emerges of Obama Administration lie and cover up on Bengazi

    ‘The discovery, over a year after the September 11, 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, of an e-mail from a White House political operative that shows him suggesting that former United Nations ambassador Susan Rice underscore that the attack was a reaction to an Internet video is, according to Charles Krauthammer, like the discovery of the Nixon tapes that blew open the Watergate scandal in 1973.’

    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/377069/krauthammers-take-new-benghazi-e-mail-akin-discovery-nixon-tapes-nro-staff

    • Sis Delish

      Now you may know what John the Baptist was up against…

    • Sis Delish

      Barry O has got to Go!

      • Sean MacNair

        Dude has two more years. If conservatives don’t like it, then they should nominate someone who can win.

        • SniperFire

          Says a lot about Leftists, however. You don’t condemn his daily lies and deceit. You just dare someone to beat your corruption.

          • Conservator440

            Just when you think that the bottom has been reached–the liberals continue to dig even deeper into the meard.

          • Sean MacNair

            I’m not a leftist. I’m not a rightist. I’m not any of that bullsh*t.

        • Sis Delish

          I’m happy to hear you believe this clown will not finish out his term.. We’ll take less, but will take only two more years, not the 2.5 he’s been elected to.

  • golfingirl

    I am sooooo tired of these Gay stories!

    Seems the CT is obsessed with this garbage, instead of focusing on the real issues facing the city, county and country these days.

    I suppose when all the other news is bad news, news which leads directly back to the Democratic administration, these stories are nothing more than distractions.

    Examples: Food prices, gas prices. Benghazi lies, unemployment, the cost of Obamacare, stagnant economy…….on and on.

    • SniperFire

      Traditional media used to provide a critical balance in their role as the Fourth Estate. Now, they have simply decided to go all in with advocacy and become ardent Leftist State Media lackeys. At least real news can still be found on the interwebs.

      • rob

        Rush Limbaugh ‘s erect penis, just put it in your mouth I think he has some koolaid for you. Oh yeah…

        • rob

          No offense, it’s just that you are one of the biggest idiots roaming the world wide web, you hear noise and see something shiny and it has your attention span like a 2 year old. If your a republican either your wealthy or stupid, which one are you? You people sit here and stereo type democrats and make low and classless comments based on somebody’s race or gayness, you are the ones hated by most, your a piece of crap, golf girl is a piece of crap, it wouldn’t be politically correct to call a retard like sis delish a piece of crap. You know, I do not condone talking to stupid people like this and I feel bad but you need to learn… I love you guys, give your mom a kiss and go up to bed. I don’t want to hear any footsteps or I will come up there.

          • Conservator440

            Hence what happens when the objective standards of right and wrong, good and bad are diminished. It is good to know that the Chronicle has contributors who are so much superior than those who hold traditional beliefs. Apparently that hopeless change is really working for you.

          • rob

            So racism and hate for gay people is just a tradition that’s being upheld? There is a difference in opposing an issue and trying to manage the life styles of people who’s existence is the most notable impact on your life. If liberals are “communists” in favor of some basic level of equality in civil liberties and the right to pursue happiness, does that make republicans’ fans of dictatorship? You don’t have to be extreme on either side of the spectrum. This country was built with these core principals in mind, we all know that the tax codes are a complicated inefficient heap of junk that needs to be uncluttered and streamlined, and the debt needs to be reined in, but we also need to modernize infrastructure for the next generation, and pursue new energy sources. Like it or not, global warming aside we are depleting our resources. Even people who started out at the very bottom and can’t escape their circumstances should be afforded some basic assistance in life even if the big pot we all throw into, called the government, has to cover the bill. That is what the United States was built on.

          • SniperFire

            ‘. If your a republican either your wealthy or stupid’

            I always get a kick out of IQ smack from those without a mastery of third grade English. LOL

          • rob

            Yeah I got it, you can pick me apart for my proof reading fail, your either wealthy or stupid.

          • SniperFire

            ‘Yeah I got it, you can pick me apart for my proof reading fail, your either wealthy or stupid.’

            Ah. It’s proofreading, then. LOLOLOLOL

          • rob

            You are incredibly gullible and ignorant. You’ve proven my point, thank you.

          • SniperFire

            Rob, didn’t you mean ‘your incredibly gullible and ignorant’?

            ROTFL

          • Sis Delish

            Rob is a prime candidate for de-frocking as his/her argumentative skills are certainly Frocked-Up!

          • rob

            “The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest
            exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior
            moral justification for selfishness.”
            – John Kenneth Galbraith

          • Sis Delish

            Took you two hours to find a quote to reply with? Not even your own thoughts? Pretty selfish indeed.

          • Starryeyes63

            What is wrong with being wealthy??? and what do you consider wealthy??? it is all a matter of perspective. I consider myself wealthy. Most, would say I am comfortable.

      • Conservator440

        They actually do, sniper. As long as the administration is republican and the persecutors are democrats–which democrats believe is the natural order of things. When one stands for nothing, you fall for anything (or anyone OOOOO)

    • roger

      White people stay on some gay ish. Just wicked pink pilgrim devils

    • B4CE

      Simple solution for you, the articles concerning gay rights are clearly marked, with a headline. They usually contain key words like, “gay” and “LBGQT” …. just don’t click on them and you won’t have to read them!
      How come a smart girl like you didn’t figure that out by your lonesome?

      • SniperFire

        Why are pedophiles the only perverts excluded from the ‘community’?

        • B4CE

          Is The whole “consenting adults ” premise really hard for you slippery slope Cons to comprehend ?
          What happened to less gubbermint interference you guys preach? Or is that only for your precious guns, taxes and Medicare?

          • SniperFire

            You didn’t answer the question. LOL
            Consenting adult… mmm…. seems like a line in the sand sort of like ‘between a man and a woman.’

            Jerry Sandusky is a homosexual. Why do you not wuvs him, too? How queer.

          • B4CE

            Sandusky is a pedophile. – a child cannot consent.
            Giving your childish rants, I understand how the difference confuses you.
            Line in the sand? Your question was answered

          • SniperFire

            LOL. You are spinning. You like your line in the sand but not somebody elses. How about a man who works for Lorain County offering to marry, for a fee, anyone and everyone in Haiti who needs health insurance?

          • Sis Delish

            Nice!

          • golfingirl

            Consenting adults also commit adultery. I am not a fan of that behavior either.

          • B4CE

            Adultery is not against the law

          • SniperFire

            LOLOLOL. Nice logic. Pedophilia is bad because there is a law against it. Just like queer marriage.

      • Sis Delish

        The average American enjoys Human Rights. Not All Americans enjoy Gay Rights. Which is more important and why and why should one trump or deny the other?

      • golfingirl

        When I see the word “Gay” I think it is a happy story.

        If it has the word “Queer” in it I assume it means the story is strange, or peculiar. So it peaks my interest.

        Oh wait, the LGBQT Community has “stolen” those words and redefined them.

        My bad, I didn’t know they were about gender disorientation, until after I read the story.

        They could have at least “invented” their own words to describe their sexual practices. Did they really have to tarnish the English language by assigning these words to their gay and queer behaviors?

        • B4CE

          You realize the word was hijacked by straight people to slur non straight people right as far back as the 1700′s. It was meant as an insult. The LBGQT folks have just embraced it. The word has meant what it does now since the 1940′s.
          You are being disingenuous. The article headline states”LBGQT” and that has never meant anything else! Or are you really that easily confused?
          If you are tired of reading and commenting about these articles, just don’t read and comment on them.

          • Sis Delish

            Actually, most are tired of your unceasing defense of only these types of stories… as if these types of stories need defense in the first place.

            As a percentage of the overall population, these LGBQT groups and interests demand more than their share of the press. I believe most here are satiated with the portions of gay stories offered by the local press.

            Question is therefore, why do think Gay issues are such a big portion of the local news? Does it help the economy? Does unemployment go down (pun) as a result of the increased awareness of Gay Issues in Lorain County?

            These are journalistic questions absent with the above average numbers of stories on this subject of late.

            Your defensive positions and replies are but evidence of a glutton who only wants more of the same… the rest of us would be thrilled to see fewer stories about this tiny part of the overall story of the area.

          • B4CE

            Sorry sis, that wasn’t meant for you. We know not to engage your delusions

          • Sis Delish

            Very Limp-Wristed reply, B4CE.

        • jj

          A couple of other words that have changed meaning over time, troll, and spam.

    • Starryeyes63

      Dang you have another imposter. Not very bright or original are they????

      • golfingirl

        I must have missed that one.

        Oh well, as I said before, imitation is the highest form of flattery….laughing.

    • franksnbeans

      Probably because no self respecting lesbian would touch you.

      • golfingirl

        Is there such a thing as a “self-respecting” lesbian?

  • roger

    Dirty white folks…..stay on some gay ish. The devil indeed. You are just homosexuals and wicked by nature

  • golfingir

    I am sooooo tired of big mouths! Seems the CT is obsessed with her garbage, instead of focusing on real issues . I suppose we vote republican because i believe in finding weapons of mass destruction and seeing many of my friends being killed and maimed trying to find these. This golfingirl is one messed up broad!

    • Starryeyes63

      I doubt you have seen a day of combat……..

  • Sis Delish

    What is the opposite of de-frocked?

    Does one have to be Frocked Up to eventually be de-frocked?

  • Rebecca A. White

    Such inane comments about a man who is standing up for what he believes. Mr. Schaefer became a REAL Christian the day he accepted his gay son. I applaud him and would love to see more people like him in this world.

    • SniperFire

      False argument. Love the sinner, hate the sin.

      • Rebecca A. White

        God made them gay. He doesn’t condemn them for being and behaving gay, same as He doesn’t condemn someone else for being what He made them.

        • SniperFire

          You should perhaps read up on it. Do you suppose God made pedophiles?

  • union official

    Religion aside, homosexuality is a filthy health habit.

    • Sis Delish

      It’s rough on Gerbils as well.

      • Guest

        lol

  • damo99

    DEMOCRATS RULE

  • Starryeyes63

    Progressive Princess: “Marriage has got historic, religious and moral content that goes back to the beginning of time, and I think a marriage is as a marriage has always been, between a man and a woman,” ~~Hillary Clinton………..

    • jj

      Wonder what her stand on adultery is…

  • John Lawson

    When Jesus quoted Genesis 1:27, He
    affirmed marriage is a union of a man and a woman and that God is the One who joins men and women together in
    marriage.

    Our Maker is not willing that any
    should spend eternity separated from Him, but that all should be saved and to
    come to a knowledge of the truth.

    it is God’s institution, not man’s
    – so it is fair to say that GOD’s rules apply in marriage – NOT some liberal
    judge’s warped interpretation.

    They’ve decided sin is not to be
    sin any longer. God just needs to “evolve” to fit their definition of
    Him.

    Sodomy has always been and will
    always remain a sin and a perversion.

    Jesus warned us these times would
    come!

    NOTHING these days is too
    outrageous or immoral that the liberals won’t constantly broadcast 24/7 through
    every media device available to destroy morality and desensitize our children
    to their God given conscience.

    • SniperFire

      Welcome to the days of Noah.

  • John Lawson

    Rebecca –

    Your ignorance is astounding and apparently
    you don’t mind displaying it to others.

    Show me a study that claims to have
    proven that sexual orientation is biological in nature, and I will show you a
    flawed research design.

    Causal factors that can lead to
    homosexuality:

    A homosexual experience in the
    early years.

    A dominant, possessive, or
    rejecting mother.

    An absent, distant, or rejecting
    father.

    Seduction by peers or authority
    figures.

    Pro-homosexual indoctrination.

    The lack of a religious home
    environment.

    • Rebecca A. White

      Dearest John, are you even mentally alive in this century? Why would I show you the research when you have already proven that your mind is totally closed? I feel sorry for you. You are so sadly misguided.

    • jj

      Casual factors? May not be your ignorance showing, but maybe some form of brain washing? Your list makes no sense at all, might as well blame it on a bump on the head, or a bad diet. How do you explain a family with 7 children, all raised together, both parents, went to church, and had none of your so called casual factors, but one of them is gay? I don’t think there has ever been a 100% fool proof reason why some people are gay. Maybe you should try to be a little more Christian, and a little less judgemental.

  • SniperFire

    ‘As for pedophiles, God gave us free will and choices.’

    Right. A person can choose what to stick in their mouth and shove up their….. And a pedophile will tell you they are just born that way – just like a nasty homosexual. So you really don’t believe your own nonsense, do you?

    ‘New research says pedophiles are born that way’

    http://articles.kspr.com/2013-05-15/offenders_39289011

  • ekwaykway

    Ya’ll gotta get dope with the LGBQT from the L to the O to the double T, naw mean?