PHILADELPHIA (AP) — A United Methodist pastor from central Pennsylvania who was defrocked after officiating his son’s gay wedding was invited by a California Methodist bishop to serve in her region in yet another sign of a split in the nation’s largest mainline Protestant denomination.
Frank Schaefer said he is deciding whether to accept the offer from Bishop Minerva G. Carcano to join the California-Pacific Annual Conference. The region includes California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands.
“I’m actually leaning toward it right now, but I can’t make that decision myself because it involves my entire family,” Schaefer said. “We are considering it very, very seriously.”
Carcano does not have the authority to restore Schaefer’s ministerial credentials but he said he would have most of the same rights and responsibilities as an ordained minister. Schaefer said it would not be a tenured appointment, unlike ordained ministers, and he would be paid less.
Schaefer has led a congregation in the town of Lebanon for more than a decade. Earlier this year, a church member filed a complaint about Schaefer officiating at the 2007 wedding of his gay son in Massachusetts, where same-sex unions are legal.