Former Mennonite pastor Chester Wenger dies

Former Mennonite pastor Chester Wenger, who made national headlines eight years ago when he was stripped of his credentials for officiating his son’s same-sex wedding, has died.Wenger died Thursday at age 102 at his home in Lancaster County.”My father was a person who gave his life to his family and his church,” said his son, Phil Wenger.Chester Wenger lived in Lancaster County for the past 60 years. He spent a decade serving as the pastor at Blossom Hill Mennonite Church, but his son said his father’s greatest work came later in life. “When marriage became legal, I went to my father, my friend, my mentor and asked him whether he would sign a marriage certificate,” Phil Wenger said.A retired Chester Wenger officiated his son’s wedding in June 2014.After the ceremony, he published a letter explaining why he did it. He wrote, “We believe this is an opportune moment for the … Read More

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Pastor Who Led Maine Superspreader Wedding Must Wear Mask at Son’s Nuptials, N.H. Church Says

PBS Wedding chairs

The pastor who officiated the Maine wedding that turned into a COVID-19 superspreader event linked to at least eight deaths will be required to wear a mask when he is at his son’s nuptials at a New Hampshire church later this month, a church official said.

Rev. Todd Bell, a pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, Maine, led the Aug. 7 wedding ceremony at a nearby church, and the 65 attendees were in violation of the state’s COVID-19 restrictions on crowd size and its mask mandate. The ceremony, along with the subsequent reception at Big Moose Inn, has now been linked to at least 180 infections and eight deaths, primarily in people at a nearby nursing home who did not attend the wedding.

Bell has ignored social distancing practices and Maine’s mask mandate at his church and encouraged his congregation to trust God rather than the

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Pastor linked to superspreader wedding in Maine told to wear mask at son’s marriage

A Maine pastor who presided over a wedding-turned-superspreader event that has been linked to at least eight Covid-19 deaths and over a hundred more infections will be taking part in another wedding next month — his son’s.

The Rev. Todd Bell’s son is tying the knot on Oct. 17 across the state line at the South Church in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the church confirmed.

And if Bell refuses to wear a mask at this ceremony, he could get the boot.

“I hope Pastor Bell will wear a mask,” church official Jennifer Leyden told The Maine Monitor. “To ask another person of faith to leave is an incredibly hard thing. But unfortunately, I have to be a hard-ass. If you’re not wearing a mask, you’re not coming in.”

Pastor Todd Bell, of the Calvary Baptist Church in Sanford, Maine, is shown in Alfred, Maine on Jan. 19, 2017.Tammy Wells /
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