First United Methodist Church of Boulder (FUMC) is honored to have Rev. Frank Schaefer as their guest preacher on Sunday March 23rd. His sermon is titled “Of Sacred Worth and Human Dignity “ based on John 4:5-29. Schaefer is a former ordained minister of the United Methodist Church who was tried by a United Methodist court for officiating his son’s same-sex marriage in December 2013. He was defrocked after his refusal to uphold the Book of Discipline, which requires him to denounce gay marriage rights. Now a United Methodist lay person, speaker and activist, he continues to advocate for human rights across the country.
FUMC is a part of a network of congregations and pastors who have vowed a higher loyalty to “Biblical obedience” which mandates embracing the marginalized and affirming the value of all of God’s children rather than following discriminatory rules of the institutional church. While they began somewhat underground, many of these United Methodists, particularly in the western part of the United States, have become more and more emboldened to act as their consciences demand. FUMC Boulder pastors, Joe Agne and Pat Bruns, are leaders in this movement, organizing other progressives, stating clearly our congregation’s positions to the public and to our own Bishop, and taking actions such as inviting Rev. Frank Schaefer to preach from our pulpit and experience the support of our congregation and community.
“It is a special privilege to welcome Frank Schaefer and his spouse Brigette to First United Methodist Church of Boulder. Last December the Eastern Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church withdrew Frank’s ordination. This happened right before Christmas, that special season where we celebrate God’s presence coming into the world in ways that embraces all people everywhere. Our denomination needs to work harder at understanding the story of God’s acceptance and love of everyone”, Bruns said about Schaefer’s visit.
Schaefer’s trial and the divide over gay marriage within the United Methodist Church made national headlines. Jean Hodges, a longtime member of FUMC and Regional Director for PFLAG made this comment about the controversy, “I actually am glad to see the media expose the hypocrisy of the UMC with the story of Schaefer, the pastor who presided at his gay son’s ceremony. Just as Jesus instructed his followers to non-violently but cleverly unmask the abusive actions of the power-holders of his day, this publicity may awaken more UM General Conference delegates to acknowledge how atrocious these policies are and how destructive they will be to the future growth of our denomination. Like the extremes of the political parties fighting endlessly in the United States or a family in conflict over differing values, conflict and struggle may be inevitable but speaking the truth to each other and acknowledging the pain we are inflicting is one necessary step if reconciliation is ever to occur.”
Rev. Schaefer will speak with FUMC’s Adult Forum at 9:00 am, preach during worship at 10:30am and lead an open conversation with area clergy and lay leaders in the afternoon from 3:00 pm – 5:00 pm. A wine and cheese reception will be hosted by Out Boulder beginning at 5:00pm.
ABOUT FIRST UNITED METHODIST CHURCH OF BOULDER
First United Methodist Church of Boulder is a welcoming and affirming faith community that compassionately advocates for social justice and equality for all. We joyfully welcome all people of any race, gender, sexual orientation, and faith traditions. Visit us online at fumcboulder.org and at Facebook.com/fumcboulder.