Reconciling Ministries Network

Creating space at the table for all God's children.

Mobilizing United Methodists of all sexual orientations and gender identities to transform our Church and world into the full expression of Christ’s inclusive love.

Learn more about how to become a Reconciling United Methodist. Learn More
Learn how your Congregation can get involved in the Reconciling Movement. Learn More

Clergy in the UMC never stood trial for racism, but they do now for love?

by Gil Caldwell A Suggestion for the Judicial Council as it considers the reinstatement of Rev. Frank Schaefer following his suspension and defrocking because he ...
Read More

“This has been a long and difficult journey for me and my family. I am grateful to the Judicial Council for considering the facts and the law in this case, and confident that they will agree with the Appeals Committee which found in June that my defrocking violated the Council’s precedents. I am grateful to my counsel, Scott Campbell, who has so eloquently demonstrated how law and compassion are not incompatible. Above all I am grateful to people all over the country – including so many in The United Methodist Church – who have been faithful to the call to love and who have sustained me throughout this ordeal. Whatever happens in my case, this movement of love that has embraced me will continue until that day when our church finally stops discriminating against God’s LGBTQ children.”

- Rev. Frank Schaefer 10/22/14 following the Judicial Council hearing
#MinistryOnTrial
... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Marlon Duran, Andy Offutt Irwin and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Laura HarrisThank you, Frank, for having the courage and stamina to make it through all the trials. I pray that this Judicial Council will see their way past fear to love and fairness.14 hours ago   ·  33
Rachel GarrettThanks for leading the way. Love never fails. God bless you and your family.13 hours ago   ·  18
Carla Oakes ClarkAs a lifelong Methodist, I say thank you Rev. Schaefer, for your love, compassion and courage in truly following Jesus.13 hours ago   ·  11
Steve UrieYes Scott Prange it is OK to be a Christian and gay at the same time... There is no where in the Bible that Jesus condemned it, Mankind put the word homosexual in the Bible changing the word effeminate... I have a lot of straight friends that flame more than I do. I have full faith in my relationship with Christ... "whosoever" is an all inclusive word!11 hours ago   ·  8
Marcia RobertsAs a proud Mom of two wonderful gay sons I thank you for standing up for them. I hold you and your dear family in my prayers.12 hours ago   ·  7
David Bales de GraaffThis'attitude' of conservative Christianity is an embarrassment to the name which bears the Christ's name. Little puny man has been SO busy dancing to the enemies' tune, laboring to prove that the body of Christ is doing it 'right' and following all the rules (Oh look! There's a pharisee!), bogged down in the chains of guilt and retribution (Oh yeah, Christ died on the cross for that) - that a LARGE portion of Christ's bride has forgotten to be humble and has been PRESUMING to know the mind of God (Isaiah 40:13/ Romans 11:28-36). How DARE ANY of us stand as accusers or think to have the right to be in a place of condemnation over another human being. It saddens me the feelings or spirit of superiority some secretly or blatantly hold over others in their own self -righteousness. We are ALL sinners and fall short of the glory of God. WAY short ... EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US!!!!! Just love people as Jesus commanded and let GOD judge and move people's hearts to repentance and conviction of whatever sin they may have in HIS eyes ... NOT yours. Concern yourself with your OWN walk with the Lord. Geeze. I'm SO sick of ALL the people walking around on this ball in space thinking they are enrolled in the Being God 1.01 course for beginners.12 hours ago   ·  14
Diane SchmeckThank you for your courage. May those sitting in judgement chose Love!12 hours ago   ·  6
Janice SappThe church is called to love. Love one another. That seems to be the underlying thread. However the church can't seem to do that and stands righteously in front of the crucified Christ and denies love with conditions to Gods children. Shame on the church.11 hours ago   ·  5
Richard GlodoWe thank you and your family for witnessing for Love Above Law ! Much love and prayers to you all.13 hours ago   ·  5
Maureen Kruckenberg VetterThanks for your witness and courage to hang in there14 hours ago   ·  6
Steve UrieThank you for your courage and strength... may God's light so shine!11 hours ago   ·  4
Deborah GudgerThank you Frank for your courage to stand for what is right. We're standing with you.12 hours ago   ·  4
Vicky Budd SharpThis makes me very sad. I am not sure why anyone should have to 'fight' to belong to a church.12 hours ago   ·  4
Janice PerkinsGod bless and thank you for your courage.12 hours ago   ·  4
Linda HaywoodEloquent. Thank you Frank Schaefer and family for your sacrifices on behalf of all of us.13 hours ago   ·  4
Laura Cook GranthamWhatever happens, know the many who stand behind you 100%, and thank you in behalf of our gay or transgender children! God is on your side!13 hours ago   ·  4
Rick WatersGod bless you for standing for love as Jesus did.13 hours ago   ·  4
Duane FortierTHANK YOU...& again....Thank You...We ARE all God's Children...AMEN.9 hours ago   ·  3
Dawn LiphartYou are such a testimony of love, compassion, and grace to me. Hmmm perhaps because I see you embracing Biblical obedience. We continue to stand and wait prayerfully with you Frank Schaefer.10 hours ago   ·  3
Scott PrangeSo let me get this right. Its ok to be a Christian and gay at the same time12 hours ago   ·  3
Chriss ZimmermanCould we love like Jesus, instead of judging like a Pharisee?5 hours ago   ·  2
Lacey Lynne BonsantoStand firm and keep the faith, Reverend Schaefer. Bless you! :)11 hours ago   ·  2
Revd Ian P. HamiltonPrayer from UK.12 hours ago   ·  2
John AyersYou are an example of faith and love in action. Thank you! Bless you!12 hours ago   ·  2
Deb WhitewoodBig hugs from PA to you Pastor Frank Schaefer! Thank you for standing up for ALL of God's children.13 hours ago   ·  2

Comment on Facebook

"If Schaefer's being reinstated as clergy is left to stand, that decision will harm the Church." ~ Counsel for The #UMC, Rev. Chris Fisher

No acknowledgement of years of harm done to LGBT community... #MinistryOnTrial
... See MoreSee Less

Kyle Graybill, Frannie Schafer and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Justin DavisThe Church already harms itself by excluding Children of God.15 hours ago   ·  26
Diane SchmeckRev Schaefer is not harming the Church. Those who sit in judgement are harming the Church.15 hours ago   ·  23
Brite Divinity SchoolAt Brite Divinity School, we #StandWithFrank and with all our LGBTQIA sisters and brothers. We acknowledge, too, that justice-seeking and peace-making are scandalous, prophetic endeavors, but our voice remains steadfast. We shall overcome, and we'll snatch the wig from dominant, heteronormative discourses in the process.15 hours ago   ·  21
Mandy Sloan FlemmingMy heart aches for the violence done to so many through narrow-minded thinking.16 hours ago   ·  18
Martie Muldoonif he is NOT reinstated, THAT will harm the church .....15 hours ago   ·  16
Blake HaneyThat line of reasoning is absurd.16 hours ago   ·  13
Eugene LongThe church has injured itself by letting prejudice lead the way against science and the teaching of most mainstream biblical scholars and theologians. And christians wonder why so many of us have given up on the church following years of racial, gender and now sexual prejudice.15 hours ago   ·  8
Arthur WinchSo…this will harm the church in what way? By making it a truly christian organization by welcoming ALL people and blessing them as one of God's children. Really now! I suppose this hurts the church like gay marriage hurts straight marriage. Do you really believe that crap?13 hours ago   ·  5
Jack LipphardtOhmagooness! The harm done to the church by the language in our discipline regarding homosexuality and the practice of ministry that is discriminatory, biblically unfounded, theologically bankrupt, and alienation from God (which is sin) is incalculable.13 hours ago   ·  4
Tim Wilkinsthe church's homophobic stance has already sealed its impending death as a viable relevant part of society.15 hours ago   ·  10
Steve N-Bob Bigden-RussellnfamIf modern Methodists realized the BoD is out dated, is there not a judicial body that can declare the rule unconstitutional and remove it from the BoD. 15 hours ago   ·  3
Brett Isernhagen...or the harm to the Church as we have kept from discerning the Body. :/16 hours ago   ·  3
Deborah GudgerIf the decision doesn't stand, it will do much more damage, not only to the UMC, but more importantly, to God's children. I stand with Rev. Frank Schaefer.10 hours ago   ·  2
George Jonte-CraneWhat harm will it do to the church? He's an idiot too. It will only serve to help the church-maybe the church will one day wake up to the reality that this is one of the reasons for our decline.13 hours ago   ·  2
Sherry Beck-PolandUgh, so unloving...15 hours ago   ·  2
Mark PoirierWhy can't they simply love one another?8 hours ago   ·  1
Marylou CateThe church hierarchy has gotten many things wrong over the ages: slavery and women being second class yo name two. God works through social awareness and growth to undo the harm literal interpretation has done.9 hours ago   ·  1
Becky KaufmanNo the decision will not harm the church. To the contrary, it may help some people remain in the church.13 hours ago   ·  1
Theodore HamptonSo does that mean it is harmful for the Church to admit when it is wrong?13 hours ago   ·  1
Peg IsaacsonWhat a unintelligent comment! I am trying to be nice and not say what I would really like to call him.13 hours ago   ·  1
Andrew DavisSad.14 hours ago   ·  1
William KellyHow is it absurd15 hours ago   ·  1
Debra DrewThe church has already been harmed by the closed mindedness of those who would deny the LGBTQ community the rights and privileges everyone else enjoys.11 hours ago   ·  3
Frannie SchaferProud to share his name .3 hours ago
Mary MerrimanMandy, including those who have/are being led to believe that God's love is exclusive and conditional.10 hours ago

Comment on Facebook

LIVE Tweeting (@RMNetwork) from inside the #UMC Judicial Council trial of Rev. Frank Schaefer; Rev Scott Campbell now speaking - Rev Schaefer's counsel:

Campbell strongly requests that material submitted by church counsel subsequent to trial should not be considered by JC.

"Alleged bias provides no grounds for reinstating previous penalties."

No evidence that NEJ Committee influenced by alleged bias. Campbell strongly refutes bias allegations.

Campbell strongly restating relevance of JC Decision 240.

Campbell claims church counsel's reading of trial court decision is "fanciful" and not at all accurate.

Campbell reminds us that trial court was supremely concerned about Schaefer's possible future support of LGBT people.

Hence Decision 725 is completely relevant in this case. Future action was primary concern of trial court.

Rev Schaefer never said he would violate the BoD in the future. Trial sought to control ambiguous future actions.

Trial court cannot hand down penalties based on possible future actions.

Campbell is finished, Fisher has 5 minutes for rebuttal. #MinistryOnTrial
... See MoreSee Less

Donna Titus, Kyle Graybill and 23 others like this

Trish DeWett CatalanoThank you for keeping us updated.15 hours ago   ·  2
Maureen Kruckenberg VetterThanks for info !!14 hours ago

Comment on Facebook

LIVE Tweeting from inside the #UMC Judicial Council trial of Rev. Frank Schaefer:

Counsel for church, Rev Chris Fisher, restating facts of trial and outcome of Appeals Committee.

Church counsel maintains Appeals Committee misinterpreted JC decision 240.

Church counsel maintains JC decisions 240 & 725 were good for those cases, but cases not similar to Rev Schaefer case.

@MINDNYAC Across country, thousands of #UMC clergy are ministering to couples. #loveoverlaw #justicerollsdown

Church counsel closes by calling into question impartiality of NEJ Appeals Committee. Alleges perception of bias.

Church counsel attempts to submit new evidence of Rev Schaefer's behavior and actions subsequent to trial. #MinistryOnTrial
... See MoreSee Less

Kyle Graybill, Ralph Sheldon and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Brite Divinity SchoolAt Brite Divinity School, we #StandWithFrank and all who have been harmed by the unjust policies of a book of discipline. We stand with and alongside all who seek justice, and we work with the myriad witnesses who choose to testify to God's reconciling and transforming love and justice.15 hours ago   ·  10
Joey JacobsonDuring his first trial, his bishop implied in interviews that she didn't want to put him on trial, but that she had no choice. I figured she would welcome his reinstatement on the first appeal. SO WHY DID SHE APPEAL THAT REINSTATEMENT TO THE J C?????16 hours ago   ·  10
Ned BachmanBishop Johnson has attempted to be on both sides of this issue. She has appeared disingenuous.16 hours ago   ·  7
Ned BachmanI don't get where Chris Fisher gets off submitting new evidence. Appeal to the Judicial Council is limited to questions of law, based solely on the record of the trial.16 hours ago   ·  5
Mark Alan McRobertsI don't know but I would bet that Bishop Johnson is one of the 80 UMC pastors and bishops who remain the in shadows who are pushing for this legalistic approach to LGBT people and their allies. WE NEED PEOPLE TO OUT ALL THE 80 CLERGY WHO WISH THE UMC TO KEEP UP THE BIGOTRY IN THE DICIPLINE.15 hours ago   ·  4
Bud Dolchsad sad sad!10 hours ago
David Bales de GraaffRolling my eyes in disgust.12 hours ago

Comment on Facebook

A sea of rainbow stoles to stand with Rev. Frank Schaefer. #MinistryOnTrial ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Mary E Johnson, Hannah Land and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Billie Ruth WalkerI see Greta Heru, Cheryl, Jane Bond and Karrel Stevens's back. :-)16 hours ago   ·  3
Trina BoseSo glad to see Oklahomans there supporting Frank! Jane Bond16 hours ago   ·  3
Susanne SumerfieldPraying for Christ's guidance and love on these matters of law verses justice. May the UMC do all the good it can, for all the people it can. In all the ways it can. That includes all God's children including our Pastors who love their children no matter what their sexual orientation may be. Standing with Frank Schaeffer!8 hours ago   ·  1
Karrel StevensThis was an enlightening experience. I pray the Judicial Council will have really heard the Counsel for Rev Frank Shaefer.15 hours ago   ·  1
Richard Díaz de LeónLooks more like a puddle.17 hours ago   ·  1
David Bales de GraaffWonderful to see11 hours ago
Kris CampbellI see David Crugnale in the back row!!!!16 hours ago
Roxanne Smith TaylorGotta love it!16 hours ago
Julie SpelmanWish I could have been there but my funds are tight right now.12 hours ago

Comment on Facebook

The chairs are ready for The #UMC Judicial Council members to arrive. They will decide the fate of Rev. Frank Schaefer's clergy status. Expecting a decision to be announced by Sunday or Monday. #MinistryOnTrial ... See MoreSee Less

View on Facebook

Raffaele Yona Ladu, Jeffrey Martin Conn and 23 others like this

View previous comments

Dave MevisI hope there is a chair for Jesus.17 hours ago   ·  26
Laura HarrisI look at that photo and see an unjust waste of my giving to my church. Senseless pursuit based on fear and what feels like a small understanding of the vastness of God's love. May they all work in peace and love.17 hours ago   ·  22
Arthur WinchMay the Holy Spirit guide these 9 people who unfairly hold Rev Schaefer's future in their hands!13 hours ago   ·  8
Sandy Arrasmith DavenportPraying for Pastor Schaefer and our UMC....17 hours ago   ·  8
Mark Alan McRobertsThis is a sad day. We still don't know all the identies of the 80 conservative pastors and bishops who are driving all of this witch hunt business. We deserve to know the identity of the 80 who have called for all of legalistic bigotry.17 hours ago   ·  16
Rob BurgessPraying for Rev. Schaefer.16 hours ago   ·  7
Theodore HamptonIf they have a sense of justice they will decide in 2 minutes there is no case.13 hours ago   ·  6
Loree GrinnellPrayers for justice.14 hours ago   ·  5
Deborah GudgerI think their decision may be more fateful for the church than for Frank. He will continue to live with love and compassion for all of God's people. Will the UMC and the Judicial Council? Praying for a just and loving decision.5 hours ago   ·  3
Lacey Lynne BonsantoThe bastards. Sorry, but somebody has to tell it like it is. They judge what they do not understand. They honor rules (arbitrary) above love. They think themselves superior and LOVE judging and sentencing. We are all either part of the problem or part of the cure of what ails society. They ONLY cure here is love. Reinstate him!10 hours ago   ·  3
Hava Lynn PellPrayers10 hours ago   ·  2
Sam SafeSchools Whatserfacedislike.17 hours ago   ·  2
Robin SnyderLooks like the Inquisition...5 hours ago   ·  1
Dawn LiphartSunday or Monday? Wow!!'10 hours ago   ·  1
Lisa K. RosenbergerPrayers yes, but don't hold your breath that UMC will do the right thing.14 hours ago   ·  1
Doriene D. MarshallPraying that love finds the way.15 hours ago   ·  1
Tony DeGraziaFormer minister for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and have seen many chairs set up for similar reasons. My hopes and prayers are for all of you that seek compassionate justice, and a softening hearts for those on their particular witch hunt. In the end, good will come when leadership seeks to serve, not control.14 hours ago   ·  3
Ronda M KelsoMay justice prevail and he be Rev Frank Schaefer - to all he married he will be the Rev. Frank Schaefer.. and the vows he took have not changed.. God and love first..16 hours ago   ·  2
Wielie ElhorstWhat is he accused of?16 hours ago
Rian PelgerMay God be with him....17 hours ago   ·  3
Robert HollingsworthI can't believe I get to witness this.17 hours ago
Ted CoppockNot a welcoming attachment of tables and chairs. Looks like having conversation with someone who faces you with their arms tightly folded. Should be in semi circle.15 hours ago

Comment on Facebook