The Pennsylvania pastor who was defrocked for officiating his gay son’s wedding has now been reinstated as a Methodist Church clergyman. Frank Schaefer had been ousted by the denomination, but an appeals panel overturned the original defrocking decision.
Schaefer has become an activist for gay rights, and will be transferred to a liberal Methodist district in California as of July 1. He was appointed the pastor of Isla Vista Student Ministry in Santa Barbara reports The Christian Science Monitor.
Schaefer said, "I've devoted my life to this church, to serving this church, and to be restored and to be able to call myself a reverend again and to speak with this voice means so much to me. He plans to continue speaking in favor of homosexuals "with an even stronger voice from within the United Methodist Church."
The appeals panel decided that the 30-day suspension Schaefer served months ago was warranted; he will receive back pay from when the suspension ended in December 2013.
The decision by the panel "signals a major change within the United Methodist Church, for sure,” Schaefer said.
Publication date: June 25, 2014