Chester Wenger, former Mennonite pastor who was stripped of his licences for officiating his gay son’s same-sex wedding has just passed away at the age of 102.
Just some 6 years ago, Chester Wenger risked it all and stood firm by his gay son during his son’s wedding. He did this by writing an open letter to the Mennonite church.
In the open letter, Chester described how his son, Phil Wenger, had been left isolated from and by the church for over 35 years when he first came out as gay.
“When my wife and I read the Bible with today’s fractured, anxious church in mind, we ask, what is Jesus calling us to do with those sons and daughters who are among the most despised people in the world — in all races and communities?” he wrote.
“What would Jesus do with our sons and daughters who are bullied, homeless, sexually abused, and driven to suicide at far higher rates than our heterosexual children?”
Chester explained that when Pennsylvania legalised same-sex marriage in 2014, his son and his partner immediately applied for a marriage license, having already been together for 27 years.
“Subsequently they asked me if I would marry them,” Chester went on. “I happily agreed.”
Chester married the couple in a private garden ceremony with only six persons present.
“Our son and his partner are members of an Episcopal Church, but they chose my wife and me to share with them in this holy covenant of marriage.”
“My act of love was done on behalf of the church I love, and my conscience is clear”.
Soon after, a Mennonite committee deliberated and eventually decided decided to strip him of his credentials. At the time, he said he was “at peace with their decision” because: “My act of love was done on behalf of the church I love, and my conscience is clear.”
Six years later, on Friday (October 2), Chester Wenger passed away at the incredible age of 102.
His son-in-law Steven Dinnocenti was full of praises when he took to his personal Facebook page to express himself. He wrote: “Today we lost our hero, our dad Chester Wenger… We are deeply heartbroken by this loss, and saddened, but we know that his legacy of giving to others through his convictions and love will always live on.”
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