Franz Schäfer

Bishop Franz Schäfer



Central and Southern Europe Central Conference

cob_hs_schafer-150x225.jpg Franz Schäfer was a retired bishop in The United Methodist Church. He was born in Bottmingen, near Basel, Switzerland, where he attended schools in his home town. He received his B.D. degree from the theological seminary of the Basel Mission and joined the Switzerland Annual Conference. He was ordained deacon and elder by Bishop Paul Garber.

Between 1945 and 1951 Franz W. Schäfer served first the church at Berne and then at Baden; the next eight years he pastored the Lausanne congregation. In the years 1959-1966 he was appointed District Superintendent. He held a number of leadership positions on conference and church organizations during these years.

On September 21, 1966, the Central Conference of Southern Europe elected Franz W. Schäfer to the episcopacy. He was assigned to the Geneva Area, which included Methodist work in ten diverse countries: Switzerland/France, Belgium, Austria (which belonged to Western democratic Europe) and Poland, Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Bulgaria (which belonged to Eastern communist Europe), and also to mission work in North Africa.

Due to his ministry in this multi-cultural and multi-national Area, Franz W. Schäfer received the honorary degree of Doctor of Divinity from Baldwin Wallace College. Due to his ecumenical activities between the churches in the eastern countries as well as between Western and Eastern Europe, he received the doctoris theolocicae honoris causa from the Theological Faculty of the University in Prague, Czechoslovakia.

Franz W. Schäfer has been treasurer of the World Methodist Council and for four years was one of its presidents.

Bishop  Schäfer passed on July 14, 2016.