The Rev. Frank Schaefer will be the keynote speaker at the Jack Crum Conference on Prophetic Ministry to be held at Epworth United Methodist Church, Saturday, April 18. Epworth is located at 3002 Hope Valley Road.
In 2013 Schaefer was put on trial in Pennsylvania by the United Methodist Church because he officiated at his son’s same-gender wedding. His credentials of ordination were taken from him, but Schaefer appealed the penalty and his credentials were restored by the church’s Committee on Appeals.
Because of the highly publicized trial, Schaefer has emerged as one of the most recognized advocates in the nation for the full and equal rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, both in the church and in society.
Following the trial, Schaefer became the pastor of a new United Methodist parish in Isla Vista, Calif. He is the author of “Defrocked: How a Father’s Act of Love Shook the United Methodist Church” (Chalice Press, 2014.)
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The Rev. Gilbert H. Caldwell will be the preacher for conference worship. A retired United Methodist pastor, he’s a native of Greensboro and a graduate of North Carolina A&T University.
In 1955, after he was denied admission to Duke Divinity School because he is African-American, he attended Boston University School of Theology where he met and became friends with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Subsequently, he became a passionate civil rights activist with Dr. King.
Over the past 20 years, Caldwell has brought the same passion and commitment to his advocacy for full civil and human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. He is one of the founders of United Methodists of Color for a Fully Inclusive Church.
Caldwell will co-lead a workshop with Jimmy Creech, titled the “Theology of Inclusion.”
Creech, a former UMC pastor in Raleigh, was one of the first United Methodist pastors to be called on the carpet 30 years ago for his stance on the church’s position regarding homosexual people.
Following two church trials, his credentials as a minister were lifted and he has never been re-instated. He has, however, continued to be an advocate for the full inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in the United Methodist Church.