Before interviewing movie stars in town for press junkets, Philly film critic Piers Marchant warms them up with a list of themed, rapid-fire questions. This week he chats with three of the names behind the new Jesus of Nazareth bio-pic Son of God: stars Diogo Morgado (Jesus) and Roma Downey (Mary), and the film’s financial backer, mega-producer Mark Burnett, (who’s also Downey’s husband.) The theme? The Seven Deadly Sins.
Here we go again. Ambassador’s Bible Chapel in Manchester, Pa., is making headlines this week for revoking the membership of a longtime worshiper because he’s gay. The York Daily Record reports that 20-year-old Bobbie Pierce was removed from the church and denied communion by the establishment’s elders. His renunciation was announced during church service last Sunday. How embarrassing. More from the York Daily Record:
“Pastor David Slautterback said Friday that he and the other elders want Pierce to repent for his sin and to return to fellowship at the church, where he is still welcome to attend as long as he does not cause division or speak contrary to scripture. ‘We placed Bobbie under church discipline out of love for Bobbie and regard for his soul,’ Slautterback said.”
The Inquirer reports that David Norse, 27, has been ordained by Broad Street Ministry as the city’s first openly gay minister. “While David’s sexual orientation is an important part of his identity, he sees himself first and foremost as someone called to pastor God’s people,” said the Rev. Bill Golderer, the church’s senior pastor. “He is very much into this being a dimension of who he is, but not the sum total.” The congregation is part of Presbyterian Church USA, which in 2011 voted to allow ordination of openly gay and lesbian members.
Here’s another happy story to end the year with. I just got an email and press release from Broad Street Ministry (BSM) Covening Minister Bill Golderer, who shared that on January 5 BSM will ordain David Norse, Philadelphia’s first openly gay male Presbyterian minister. From the release:
Rev. Frank Schaefer — the man who was defrocked by the Methodist Church last week after officiating the marriage of his gay son — has been offered a job Bishop Minerva G. Carcano to join the Church’s California-Pacific Annual Conference. If he accepts, he would serve over an area that covers California, Hawaii and the Pacific Islands. LGBTQ Nation reports:
“Daddy,” my 5-year-old son asked me on Friday. “Why do we celebrate Christmas?”
This was a question I’d been expecting for a few weeks — and even for a few years. My wife and I both have long since taken the Christ out of our personal Christmases (we’d both had our crises of faith before we met each other) but continued, like so many people do, to celebrate a holiday packed with family traditions, and to renew them when T was born.
Just, you know, without the churchy stuff.
So probably the easiest thing to do, when T posed his question, would’ve been to take the advice of my colleague Simon van Zuylen-Wood: “Just talk about Santa. I don’t think I learned who Jesus was till I was 18.”
This morning the United Methodist Church handed down its decision on Rev. Frank Schaefer, the PA pastor who was put on suspension for officiating the marriage of his gay son, and the verdict isn’t pretty. He’s been defrocked.
Schaefer met with officials this morning and, according to LGBTQ Nation, he left without issuing a comment. He is expected to make a statement later today.
Rev. Frank Schaefer Refuses to Uphold Anti-Gay Methodist Doctrine, Says He Won’t Surrender Credentials
Rev. Frank Schaefer — the Methodist pastor who was punished for officiating his son’s gay wedding — is nearing the end of his 30-day suspension, a time when he is supposed to either vow to accept Church doctrine that says homosexuality is “incompatible with Christian teaching,” or hand over his credentials.
First of all, let me belatedly congratulate Charlie Craig and David Mullins, a Colorado couple who got married in Massachusetts last year. I hope that Pennsylvania’s gay couples will be able to join them at the altar soon, and I’m glad the 21st century has seen a recognition of their right to get married. It is the best thing about living now that I know of.
But I wish Craig and Mullins had decided to get their wedding cake somewhere else.