Michael Wenning

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Michael Wenning
Michael Wenning.jpg
Wenning delivering the invocation at the funeral of Ronald Reagan, June 2004
Senior pastor of the Bel Air Presbyterian Church
In office
Personal details
Born Michael Heeley Wenning
(1935-07-05)July 5, 1935
Cape Town, South Africa
Died June 28, 2011(2011-06-28) (aged 75)
Mission Viejo, California, U.S.
Spouse(s) Freda Wenning
(?-2011; his death)
Alma mater Texas Christian University,
New York University

Dr. Michael Heeley Wenning (July 5, 1935 – June 28, 2011) was a South African-born American Presbyterian minister. He served as the senior pastor at the Bel Air Presbyterian Church from 1995 to 2001.[1] He gained national prominence when conducting President Ronald Reagan's state funeral.[2]

Early life[edit]

Wenning was born in Cape Town.[3] He was educated at Texas Christian University (Master of Divinity) in Fort Worth, Texas and New York University (master's in both psychology and counseling).


From 1969 to 1977, he was pastor of a Presbyterian church in Durban, South Africa.[1] In 1977 he returned to the United States where he worked for the next three decades as a pastor in various Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) congregations.[2] He served as the senior pastor at the Pleasant Hills Community Presbyterian Church in Pleasant Hills, Pennsylvania more than nine years, between January 1977 and August 1986.[4]

Reagan funeral[edit]

He was notably the senior pastor at Bel Air Presbyterian Church from 1995 to 2001. There he developed a close relationship with church members Ronald and Nancy Reagan.[3] He notably conducted President Reagan's interment service on June 7, 2004 following the latter's death and state funeral.[2]


Wenning died in 2011, just one week before his 76th birthday, at his home in Mission Viejo, California from kidney failure resulting from leukemia.[3] He was survived by his wife Freda and his two daughters.[3] His remains were soon cremated.[5]


  1. ^ a b "Bel-Air Presbyterian to Install New Pastor : Leadership: The Rev. Michael Wenning expects to apply lessons of tolerance from working in his native South Africa". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Michael Wenning Obituary". Legacy.com. Retrieved September 3, 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d Associated Press (June 30, 2011). "Michael Wenning, Reagans' Pastor, Dies at 75". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ "Obituary: Michael Wenning / Pastor who served in Pleasant Hills, presided at President Reagan's burial". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 2016-03-11. 
  5. ^ Cite error: The named reference NYTolit was invoked but never defined (see the help page).

External links[edit]