Former district conference leader Gary Wall’s ties to the U.S. Conference of Mennonite Brethren Churches are in jeopardy after a restoration process fell apart due to his lack of cooperation.
Wall was charged in 2019 with engaging in prostitution in Fresno, Calif., while he was Pacific District Conference minister. He withdrew a plea of no contest the following year, and the case was dismissed based on a plea agreement. He has maintained his innocence.
The USMB magazine Christian Leader reported that representatives of the denominational Board of Faith and Life gave an update on interactions with Wall during USMB’s national assembly July 26-30 in Independence, Mo. The update was identified on the schedule as a one-hour “family discussion” during afternoon free time.
PDC formed a five-member restoration team in June 2021 to work with Wall. When the team decided to work with a law firm that assists nonprofit and religious groups to investigate the events of a Jan. 23, 2019, police operation at a Fresno massage parlor, Wall chose to no longer cooperate with the team.
The law firm completed its investigation and submitted it to the U.S. Board of Faith and Life just before the national gathering in July. In a written statement, the restoration team recommended unanimously that USMB leadership revoke Wall’s ordination and credentialing and “update his ministry status to state that he is not suited to serve in a district, national or international role in the Mennonite Brethren denomination unless and until he chooses to re-engage in a satisfactory reconciliation process.”
The law firm report’s details were not shared. U.S. BFL chair Tim Sullivan said the U.S. and PDC BFLs will need time to process the recommendation.