Pennsylvania United Methodist pastor Rev. Frank Schaefer was tried by the UMC for performing a same-gender marriage ceremony (for his son). He was given an opportunity to avoid the trial if he repented the act and vowed to never do it again, but Frank refused. The trial lasted 2 days, on Mon 11/18 and Tues 11/19. Frank was found guilty by a jury of 13 clergy (including 3 women) of performing a same-gender ceremony and of defying the UMC Discipline. He received a 30-day suspension, during which time, if he breaks any part of the Discipline, he will be required to turn in his orders.
A multitude of news stories about the case are available online. Please visit these two pages to see thorough lists of articles and more:
Below are links to personal essays responding to the events this week.
Please send a link to your essay for possible inclusion in our list, which we will update periodically. At the bottom are direct responses from members of the UMC Southwest Texas Annual Conference.
PERSONAL ESSAYS & BLOG POSTS
Joseph Matthews, cleric in The Episcopal Church (former Methodist)
Several responses on RMN blog, we especially like this one by Autumn Dennis
SOUTHWEST TEXAS UNITED METHODISTS RESPOND
“I recently joined a United Methodist Church, but I don’t consider myself Methodist at all. I joined Trinity because it’s Trinity, not because it’s UMC. The recent events make me sad and remind me why I’ve never been a fan of the larger denominations that are governed by a law book. Don’t get me wrong, I do see some need for being on the same page, but I don’t believe for a minute that it’s okay for anyone to tell me how I am to believe or how I am to worship and ultimately serve God. It’s not ok for anyone to look down on someone else because they are different or feel that they are called by God to a higher purpose. I have never felt at home in a church the way I do right now. When people look at me and smile, I see love and acceptance, not examination and judgment. That’s the way it should be in church. If I’ve missed a Sunday or two and someone comes up to me and gives me hug saying, ‘I’ve missed you,’ I know they mean it. It’s not a coded way of saying, “We noticed you were gone and were worried about your salvation because you weren’t in church.” The bottom line here is I want to be a part of a church, not denomination, that loves the way Jesus loves and cares for all of God’s children, not just the ones who fit neatly in the ‘Christian box.’ “
– Renee Smith, Austin, TX