DALLAS Frank Schaefer, the defrocked Methodist minister who officiated at the wedding of his gay son and was stripped of his ordination because of it was honored at Dallas' largest church with a primarily lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender membership.

Even though he may never again preach before a United Methodist congregation, Schaefer was back in the pulpit on Sunday morning. He received a standing ovation at the Cathedral of Hope.

I ve never been in a church quite like it, he said. I have to say I was moved to tears several times because I thought to myself: 'This is what it s supposed to be... the kingdom of earth as Jesus preached it, all people together.'

Last year, Schaefer lost his ministry after performing his son's same sex marriage. Greg Hupp and Bruce Ehrhardt, who recently got married, attended church to hear his sermon.

We have been a member of this church for 43 years, and the church never ceases to amaze us, Ehrhardt said. Bringing someone like Reverend Schaefer is just wonderful.

Schaefer, who is a married father of four, has three gay children. He views homosexuality not a a sin, but as a civil rights issue, and applauded the recent decision by Attorney General Eric Holder to give same-sex couples equal rights for testifying in court, joint bankruptcy filings or visiting partners in prison.

He hopes Texas will adopt those progressive measures.

We live in exciting times, and things are changing and changing for the better, and we are just thrilled, Schaefer said.


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