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Methodists in turmoil over defrocking of minister for blessing gay wedding

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Officials of the United Methodist Church have every right to enforce their disapproval of gay marriage in whatever manner they see fit.

I’m not a Methodist, and it’s none of my business.

Still, I’m glad to see that many of the denomination’s adherents are dissenting, as we see HERE:

The Rev. Frank Schaefer [above], a Methodist minister, was stripped of his clerical credentials on Thursday for violating church law by presiding at his son’s same-sex wedding. The punishment, imposed by the United Methodist Church in Pennsylvania, was requested by the church prosecutor to deter other ministers from blessing same-sex marriages.

But far from intimidating others, the trial and defrocking of Mr. Schaefer have galvanized a wave of Methodist ministers to step forward to disobey church prohibitions against marrying and ordaining openly gay people.

Members of the United Methodist Church, the nation’s third-largest Christian denomination, have been battling bitterly over homosexuality for four decades. The church now faces an increasingly determined uprising by clergy members and laypeople who have refused to cede, even after losing the most recent votes, at the Methodist convention last year, on proposals to change church teaching…

Church conservatives, however, say they have the momentum. About a half-dozen more ministers are facing church trials, and the defrocking of Mr. Schaefer proves to them that church juries have the courage of their convictions. In addition, they say the church is losing members in its liberal-leaning regions and growing in conservative regions…

The church’s Book of Discipline, which contains its law and doctrine, forbids same-sex marriage and the ordination of gay people, and says that homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching.” Efforts to amend the Book of Discipline have been defeated by increasingly wide margins at the church’s quadrennial conferences as delegates representing the church’s growing branch in Africa have bolstered the votes of conservative Methodists in the United States.

Mr. Schaefer was found guilty last month by a 13-member jury of pastors of disobedience and violating the Book of Discipline. He was given 30 days to decide whether he would comply with church law…

Those watching the trial were stunned when Bishop Peggy Johnson, who leads nearly 900 United Methodist churches in Pennsylvania and who is Mr. Schaefer’s superior, posted a note on her blog this week, saying that she believed the prohibitions on gay ordination and marriage in the Book of Discipline were “discriminatory.”

The prohibitions, Bishop Johnson continued, taken together with the church’s message of inclusion, “has led to confusion by many from the outside of the church wondering how we can talk out of two sides of our mouth.”

 

 

 

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