'An Act of Love' to be screened Sunday
"An Act of Love," an award-winning documentary based on the life of Rev. Frank Schaefer who was put on trial by the United Methodist Church when he presided over the same-sex wedding ceremony of his son in 2013, will be screened at 3 p.m. Sunday ...
"An Act of Love," an award-winning documentary based on the life of Rev. Frank Schaefer who was put on trial by the United Methodist Church when he presided over the same-sex wedding ceremony of his son in 2013, will be screened at 3 p.m. Sunday at Park United Methodist Church in Brainerd. Admission is free.
While the United States now has marriage equality, the country's second largest protestant denomination, the United Methodist Church, is still divided over the issue. The film was directed by Scott Sheppard, who after hearing about the story immediately reached out about making a documentary.
At the beginning of his career, Schaefer had no intention of getting involved in the controversy over gay marriage in the church, the anactoflovefilm.com stated in the film's website. However, several years into Schaefer's ministry at a small church in Pennsylvania, his eldest son, Tim, began to quietly struggle with his sexual orientation. Amidst fear of rejection from his church and his family, Tim became withdrawn and teetered on the verge of suicide, the website stated.
Once the Schaefers assured their son that they accepted and loved him regardless of his sexual orientation, a new fear arose, what would the congregation in Lebanon, Pa., think. Schaefer's son moved to Boston where he met his future husband. After college, they were married in a private service in Massachusetts, where Schaefer officiated. The Schaefers knew that having Frank officiate Tim's wedding was a risk to his career, but they figured since it was a private family affair that it wouldn't ruffle any feathers, the website stated.
Nearly six years passed after Tim and Bobby's wedding, and no one had brought up the marriage. Only weeks before the statute of limitations ran out, a member of the church brought an official complaint against him. In November 2013, Schaefer's church trial was held over two days in a church camp gymnasium. At the end of the trial, the church gave Schaefer a choice: promise to never perform a same-sex wedding again, or turn in his credentials as a minister.
Schaefer would not promise to stop performing same-sex marriages. He began a six month speaking tour, going to churches and rallies around the nation and appearing on several TV shows.