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Saying Goodbye: Thomas Wenger Jr.



I have seen so many wonderful tributes to my friend and pastor Tom Wenger Jr. over the past week I didn’t think I could add anything to what others have already said so powerfully. Plus this week has allowed little time for me to adequately put together anything coherent (and I can’t guarantee that this will be). This week has been a whirlwind of emotions.


I feel I have little to say about Tom, at least compared to others. I knew him for only about seven years, a fraction of the time many in our church have known him. I don’t even have a picture of the two of us together. Yet in many ways I could speak volumes.


 

Cindy and I left our former church in 2017, joining Trinity Presbyterian Church, a church plant which sprang from Annapolis EP Church in 2014. I had heard Tom’s father, Tom Wenger Sr., preach a few times here and there. Cindy and I had also heard Tom Jr. once or twice, commenting to each other, “Man, that guy really talks fast!” But I could tell even from that first encounter that Tom had a heart for people and a passion for the gospel. (Tom later told he that he often felt he had so much to say in such a limited time, he had to rush to get it all out.)

Tom was so many things. He was absolutely genuine in his care and concern for others, was totally selfless in his dealings with people, and probably the most unselfish person I’ve ever met. Whenever we got together for lunch, he always wanted to know what was on my heart, on my mind. I usually came to him with a bunch of theological questions, especially about books. “What’s the best book on the Holy Spirit? Where do I start in reading the works of John Owen? What’s the best translation of ________________?”


Tom would usually answer quickly, or say, “I’ll send you a link.” And then he’d ask me, “Who’s your favorite crime fiction writer? What’s your favorite Coen brothers movie? Have you seen __________?” We spent so many hours talking about books, movies, and music. Over the years I’ve met several pastors with a fair amount of musical knowledge, but Tom blew them all away. I’ve got three music degrees, and Tom would often bring up composers and compositions I’d never heard of. He was amazing.


Resources from Tom's Summer of Psalms sermon series


A few of you have been impressed with my posts featuring stacks of books I’ve read each month, but I can’t hold a candle to Tom. He always told me that if I ever left the public library to please try to get a job at the Peabody Library so he could have an “in” there! Tom was so well-read in so many ways.


This weekend has been filled with memories of Tom. I have seen over 1,000 people gather together to mourn his passing and celebrate his life. With each person I wanted to stop and say, “Tell me something you remember about Tom.” He was truly loved by many, many people. He truly loved many, many people. To say we’ll all miss him would be an incredible understatement. Thank you, Tom, for serving your Lord so faithfully and for having a loving heart for every person you met, including me.




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