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Pastor acquitted of all charges

Pastor acquitted of all charges

e-Review Florida United Methodist News Service

Pastor acquitted of all charges

Aug. 24, 2007  News media contact: Erik J. Alsgaard*
800-282-8011, ext. 505   Lakeland {0727}

An e-Review Feature
By Erik J. Alsgaard

LAKELAND — The Rev. Michael Frazier, a Florida Conference pastor, was acquitted of all charges by a jury of his peers during a church trial Aug. 21-23. 

After being charged with five offenses under The Book of Discipline of The United Methodist Church, the church’s law book, the trial court jury found Frazier not guilty.

The trial considered five charges against Frazier, who last served Stewart Memorial United Methodist Church in Daytona Beach. Since April 2004, Frazier has been on voluntary leave of absence, and he continues in that relationship at this time, according to Florida Conference Bishop Timothy W. Whitaker.

A 13-member jury considered the evidence. According to the denomination’s Book of Discipline, nine votes are needed for conviction. Fewer than nine votes for conviction is considered an acquittal.

The trial took place at First United Methodist Church in Lakeland, with Bishop William W. Morris, retired, presiding. All clergy trials in The United Methodist Church are considered closed to the public and media at the start, according to the Book of Discipline. Frazier had the option to open the trial to the public and the media, but did not make that request.

According to Whitaker, Frazier can request a return from voluntary leave of absence. In all such requests, the Board of Ordained Ministry would then consider the matter and make its recommendations to the clergy session during the annual meeting of the conference.

Ordained an elder in full connection in 1997, Frazier also served Zion United Methodist Church in Ocala from 1994 to 1998 and as chaplain at Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach while serving Stewart Memorial United Methodist Church.


This article relates to Board of Ordained Ministry/Clergy Misconduct.

*Alsgaard is director of communications for the Florida Conference.