Statement from Your Pastors in the Aftermath of Rev. Frank Schaefer’s Trial
As the pastors of The United Methodist Church of the Village, we have been privileged to minister to a church that has been actively following and responding to the trial of Rev. Frank Schaefer in the Eastern Pennsylvania Annual Conference. This week, we watched with mixed emotions as Rev. Schaefer refused to surrender his orders while his Board of Ordained Ministry chose to revoke them. The week demonstrates both the institutional sin of the church and the moral resolve and strength of the movement to make the United Methodist Church a more righteous and inclusive body of Christ.
Rev. Schaefer’s words and actions have inspired us to be more courageous in our own pastoral callings. We have observed and felt viscerally grieved that our flawed, human institution has now done the worst it can do to Rev. Schaefer, but we find hope in the knowledge that no body–no jury, no board–can revoke Rev. Schaefer’s pastoral and prophetic call from God nor his integrity as a pastor and a father.
While we are incredibly heartened by Rev. Schaefer’s resolve, we also recognize that this trial and its aftermath have very real consequences for his life, family, and church, and we will continue to discern with our church and the wider movement for LGBTQ inclusion how to best support Rev. Schaefer personally as well as the ideals that have cost him so much.
Finally, we speak fully committed together, as pastors filled with a Grace empowered to fight to move our Church to live a Gospel radically inclusive of all of God’s people, to fully pastor and participate in all avenues of love, witness and service for “the transformation of our Church, and the world!”
Much Grace and Peace,
Bishop Alfred Johnson and Rev. Vicki Flippin