Responding to a complaint, the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of The United Methodist Church has opted to pardon dozens of clergy members that blessed a gay wedding.
Thirty-six UMC ministers blessed a homosexual wedding Nov. 9 at Philadelphia’s Arch Street United Methodist Church, violating the denomination’s Book of Discipline according to Charisma Magazine.
"Though I may sympathize with the pastoral concerns of the respondents, it is unacceptable to disregard and disobey the Book of Discipline," said Philadelphia Area Bishop Peggy Johnson. "I pledge that, in future cases where clergy within my jurisdiction officiate or host a same-gender ceremony, any complaints that I receive will be handled swiftly and with significant and appropriate consequences, which may include a trial, involuntary leave of absence without pay, or other significant consequences, in accordance with the Discipline and in consultation with the Board of Ordained ministry and the clergy session of the annual conference."
Clergy maintain they participated in the ceremony to show support for their colleague, the Rev. Frank Schaefer who officiated the service of his homosexual son’s wedding.
Charisma Magazine reports the ceremony was conducted before gay marriage was legalized in Pennsylvania earlier this year.
The rebuke came in response to the complaint of several dozen evangelical United Methodists in the conference, who in exchange of the pardon, agreed to seek no further punishment of the "Philadelphia 36."
"This episode presents another example of United Methodism's traditionalist majority going out of its way to be gracious and conciliatory as they uphold the historic Christian faith and seek to minister to all people in a biblically loving way, while a disruptive liberal minority keeps playing hardball in undermining our church,” said John Lomperis, Institute on Religion and Democracy’s United Methodist Action Director.
Publication date: October 9, 2014