An panel from the United Methodist Church has agreed to hear an appeal from a Pennsylvania pastor who officiated his son's same-sex wedding. The appeals committee plans to hear the case of defrocked pastor Frank Schaefer this coming summer.
Jen Ihlo, president of the UMC Northeastern Jurisdiction Committee on Appeals, said in a statement that the appeal will be tried under the authority of the Book of Discipline and will take place on June 20.
The "practice of homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching," according to the UMC Book of Discipline. "Therefore, self-avowed practicing homosexuals are not to be certified as candidates, ordained as ministers, or appointed to serve in The United Methodist Church." more >>
With the recent announcement that Westboro Baptist Church founder Fred Phelps is in hospice care, some are wondering about the fate of the notorious hate group he created.
Estranged family members are among those who have weighed in on the future of the Topeka, Kan.-based church that is unaffiliated with any Baptist denomination.
Pope Francis and Archbishop Justin Welby signed an agreement Monday to support an anti-slavery, anti-human trafficking initiative. The leaders of the Roman Catholic Church and the Anglican Communion backed the initiative known as the Global Freedom Network.
"Many are already engaged in the struggle and we join them with much to learn as well as much to contribute. All are called to join common cause to end this crime and suffering," said Welby. "We are struggling against evil in secret places and in deeply entrenched networks of malice and cruelty. No one of us is strong enough, but together we are ready for the challenge God is placing before us today, and we know that he will strengthen us so that all people may live in freedom and dignity."
In a statement released honoring the occasion, Welby said that the joint endeavor was part of the efforts to have Anglicans and Catholics united. more >>
Megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll recently apologized via an internal letter to his congregation for using a marketing company that promoted his book Real Marriage through what he now sees as a manipulative method to help place the book on top of the New York Times best seller list.
"My understanding of the ResultSource marketing strategy was to maximize book sales, so that we could reach more people with the message and help grow our church," Driscoll stated in the letter. "In retrospect, I no longer see it that way. Instead, I now see it as manipulating a book sales reporting system, which is wrong. I am sorry that I used this strategy, and will never use it again. I have also asked my publisher to not use the '#1 New York Times bestseller' status in future publications, and am working to remove this from past publications as well."
Earlier this month, after a report that the Seattle-based Mars Hill Church he pastors paid a promotional company $210,000 three years ago to make sure that Real Marriage, co-written by Driscoll's wife, Grace, made the New York Times best-seller list, the church released a "Note From Our Board of Advisors and Accountability." In addition to describing a shift in the way decisions made by the church administration are reviewed, the Board addressed the book promotion controversy. more >>
A California megachurch's recent vote to leave Presbyterian Church (USA) has been confirmed by the mainline Protestant denomination. Menlo Park Presbyterian Church, a multi-site congregation which has over 3,000 members, recently voted to leave PCUSA.
The PCUSA Presbytery of San Francisco affirmed the vote taken by Menlo Park Presbyterian Tuesday in a meeting. Nicole S. Laubscher, spokeswoman for Menlo Park Presbyterian, told The Christian Post about the time table now that the Presbytery has approved their vote to be dismissed.
"The effective date of dismissal will occur no earlier than 91 days after the Presbytery vote, and as promptly thereafter as practicable recognizing the need to complete necessary purchase and transfer documentation," said Laubscher. "Now that our dismissal from the PCUSA has been approved, we are beginning the formal transfer process into ECO for both MPPC and our pastors. We are in regular communication with the leadership of ECO to ensure a seamless transition at the end of the 91-day waiting period." more >>
Conservative members of the United Methodist Church have expressed disappointment over a bishop's refusal to punish a clergyman who violated church rules by officiating his son's gay wedding.
The Rev. Dr. Thomas Ogletree, former dean of Yale Divinity School, officiated at the same-sex wedding of his son in 2012. A complaint was filed against him and a church trial was originally scheduled for March.
Bishop Martin D. McLee of the UMC New York Conference reached an "Agreement for a Just Resolution" where no trial will be held. Further, McLee called on a cessation of all church trials for UMC clergy who had presided over gay unions. more >>