96-year-old former pastor has credentials revoked for officiating son’s same-sex wedding

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A 96-year-old retired pastor has had his church credentials revoked – because he officiated his son’s marriage to a man.

Chester Wenger, a longtime Mennonite church pastor of East Lampeter Township, Pennsylvania, agreed to officiate his son Phil Wenger’s wedding to Steve Dinnocent in July.

However, he was shocked to find that the church had chosen to revoke his credentials over the wedding – essentially retrospectively firing him, despite his years of service.

He wrote for The Mennonite: “When the laws of Pennsylvania changed in July, our gay son and his committed partner of twenty-seven years went immediately to apply for a marriage license.

“Subsequently they asked me if I would marry them. I happily agreed. We held a private ceremony with only six persons present.

“The Lancaster Mennonite Conference credentialing committee met on Sept. 10 and retired my credentials.

“I know persons will accuse me for my transgression, but my act of love was done on behalf of the church I love, and my conscience is clear.

“I feel that my act of love in signing a marriage license for our son and his companion was in line with the actions of Peter and Paul who led the church of Christ to welcome the uncircumcised into the fellowship of the family of God.”

Mr Wenger says he is “at peace” with the decision to revoke his credentials, and added: “We invite the church to embrace the missional opportunity to extend the church’s blessing of marriage to our homosexual children who desire to live in accountable, covenanted ways.”