A Pennsylvania pastor who was reinstated after being defrocked, is headed to Isla Vista.
Pastor Frank Schaefer had been in the national news since he was convicted of violating United Methodist Church law and stripped of his pastoral duties. After officiating at the marriage of his gay son, he refused to promise not to perform another same-sex marriage.
After appealing the decision, he received an email with the news.
"The verdict was, I am reinstated as an ordained minister of the United Methodist Church," said Schaefer at a press conference.
"Someone of this faith is being very open and honest about his support for the LGBT community," said Tyler Renner.
Renner works with the Pacific Pride Foundation, a group that serves lesbian, gay bisexual and transgendered residents in Santa Barbara County.
He believes Schaefer's reinstatement is a big step for the nation, and also the Santa Barbara community now that the pastor will be transferred from Pennsylvania to the Santa Barbara Korean United Methodist Church in Isla Vista.
"I think he'll bring a fresh perspective and really reinvigorate this awareness. Especially with faith and spirituality and the LGBT community, it's something that I don't think gets a lot of attention. We talk about marriage equality and we talk about media portrayals of LGBT people but there seems to be a gap in talking about spirituality and faith within the LGBT community, said Renner.
The decision to move Schaefer to California came from Bishop Minerva Carcano. She asked the defrocked pastor to move to the West Coast as a lay person six month ago. He and his family few out to California to talk about the possible new assignment.
"Rev. Schaefer has a history of being able reach out to those who have been marginalized, disenfranchised, those who have never heard the Word of God from Holy Scripture. And we believe he will be a wonderful match for this community," said Carcano.
She said she sends him to Isla Vista with her full support.
Schaefer will be in the college town as of July 1.
"As an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church, I will never be silent again. I will always speak for my LGBTQ brothers in the church and beyond," he said.
One of the big questions is, if the pastor performs another same-sex marriage, could he be at risk of being defrocked again?
"I don't think it would put him at the risk that he faced in Pennsylvania. If his conscience leads him in that direction, I would encourage him to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit," said Carcano.
The bishop told NewsChannel 3 the California Pacific region of the church is working on a moratorium to prevent another trial like Schaefer's.