A year ago, members of Zion Lutheran Church in Hummelstown, Pa., woke up to the news that their pastor had been arrested.The Rev. Alan Curtis Wenrich was charged with “patronizing prostitutes” and for solicitation of prostitutes, according to the police report.“He admitted his guilt to me,” Bishop B. Penrose Hoover recently told Pretty Good Lutherans. Hoover leads the ELCA’s Lower Susquehanna Synod in Pennsylvania.
Soon after his arrest, Wenrich, who is married, resigned his post at the Hummelstown church. Yet he remains on the ELCA clergy roster. His status is listed as “on leave.”
When asked why Wenrich is still a pastor, Hoover said: ”Because his misconduct did not rise to the level of sexual misconduct as we define it. It was solicitation, not the act of sex.”
Pretty Good Lutherans then asked: “So a woman has to allow a pastor to have sex with her before the ELCA considers his behavior sexual misconduct?”
The bishop responded: “I think this conversation needs to end.” Then he hung up the phone.