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Veteran Seminary Prof/Churchman Dies

Posted on December 20th, 2005

Linden M. WengerLinden M. Wenger
Photo by Jim Bishop

Linden M. Wenger, 92, a veteran pastor/bishop and professor emeritus of philosophy at Eastern Mennonite Seminary, died Sunday, Dec. 18, at Oak Lea Nursing Home where he was a resident.

Wenger taught Bible and philosophy courses on the undergraduate level and at the seminary from 1955 until his retirement in 1978. He also carried a full slate of responsibilities in Virginia Mennonite Conference.

During his tenure, Wenger was acting dean of the seminary, 1965-67, assistant to EMU President Myron S. Augsburger, 1967-70, director of field education, 1972-78, and seminary registrar, 1974-78.

Wenger was born Dec. 26, 1912 in Edom, Va., and was the son of the late Oscar E. and Bessie P. Heatwole Wenger.

On June 1, 1941, he married the former Esther Huber, who preceded him in death on May 17, 2003.

Surviving are two sons, Harold C. and J. Lowell Wenger; a daughter, Linda Kay Wenger, and their spouses; two sisters, four grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Wenger was ordained in 1945 as pastor of the Mt. Hermon Mennonite Church, where he served with his wife Esther for 10 years. He was ordained bishop/ overseer of several Mennonite churches in the Highlands area of Virginia and West Virginia in 1959.

He earned A.B. and Th.B. degrees from EMU, a B.D. and Th.M. degree from Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Va., and did research on Mennonite church-building in the Miami area while a visiting fellow at Princeton (NJ) Theological Seminary in 1971-72.

He held a number of churchwide offices over the years and had been a member of the board of the Virginia Mennonite Conference Center, chair of the Virginia Conference Visitor Center committee and headed the Older Adults Ministries committee of Virginia Conference.

Wenger wrote "Climbing Down the Ladder," an autobiographical book about retirement, in 1993. In 1997, he released a second book, "Fifty Years in Northern District of Virginia Mennonite Conference," which recounts the effects of change in that geographic area of the church in the mid-20th century, 1945-1995.

Funeral services will be held Dec. 22 at Lindale Mennonite Church where Wenger was a member, with burial in the Lindale cemetery.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Linden M. and Esther H. Wenger Scholarship Fund c/o Virginia Mennonite Conference, 901 Parkwood Drive, Harrisonburg, VA 22802 or to the Linden M. and Esther H. Wenger Seminary Scholarship for students attending EMS from Meserete Kristos Church of Ethiopia.

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