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How a Father's Act of Love Shook the United Methodist Church

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In his book, Schaefer tells the story of officiating at his gay son's same-sex marriage and, six years later, his subsequent trial by a United Methodist court. That trial stripped Schaefer of his ordination after more than 20 years of ministry in the nation's largest mainline Protestant denomination.

The pastor of a Pennsylvania congregation was given a choice by the court: Vow to never again preside over a same-sex wedding, or lose his credentials as a pastor. Schaefer disagreed with the church's stance against gay marriage, and three of his four children are gay, so Schaefer knew that he could make no such promise.

The United Methodist Church officially defrocked Schaefer in December 2013. Now a layperson, speaker, and activist, Schaefer travels around the country advocating for human rights.

Schaefer has appeared on The View, CNN, MSNBC, the CBS Evening News, and numerous national and international news outlets, telling his story. With the media spotlight on him, Schaefer went from being a small-town pastor and silent supporter of LGBTQ rights to an outspoken activist with a national platform. His weekends are now booked solid with speaking engagements at churches and rallies around the country. His goal: To change the rules he deems to be discriminatory in the United Methodist Book of Discipline, which prohibit the ordination of LGBTQ people and forbid ministers from performing same-sex marriages.

"My message is an appeal to all LGBTQ members, as well as their friends and supporters, to remain in the United Methodist Church because we're taking our church back. We're at a tipping point, and we can work for changes," says Schaefer.

How a Father's Act...
Frank Schaefer
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