Retired Presbyterian Pastor Accused of Stealing over $350,000 from His Former Church

Milton Quintanilla | Contributor for ChristianHeadlines.com | Friday, May 6, 2022
Retired Presbyterian Pastor Accused of Stealing over $350,000 from His Former Church

Retired Presbyterian Pastor Accused of Stealing over $350,000 from His Former Church


A retired pastor of a Pittsburgh Presbyterian church has been accused of stealing $357,000 from his former congregation.

According to ChurchLeaders.com, the pastor in question is the Rev. Wayne, who led Community House Presbyterian Church from 1977 to his retirement in 2017. Wayne, 70, currently faces theft charges for unlawfully taking and receiving stolen property.

After Wayne retired in 2017, he allegedly frequently diverted funds from Community House, court documents show. Investigators noted that a day before Wayne's retirement, he made himself, his wife and a member of a now-defunct organization the only authorized signers on the church's bank account, consequently restricting church members' access to the account.

Following his retirement, Wayne received large monthly checks from the church's account and deposited the money into a general account. According to the criminal complaint, the retired pastor and his wife, Molly, used the money to pay for living expenses, including the mortgage, utilities, vehicles, restaurant meals, and travel expenses.

While the memo lines on most of the checks suggested that the money was reimbursement for expenses, Peck’s affiliation with Community House ended after his retirement.

In 2019, the Pittsburgh Presbytery, which holds financial oversight of local Presbyterian congregations, discovered "irregularities and delinquencies" in the church's accounting and contacted the police.

"Substantial funds designated for the church in recent years were not actually received by the church," the Presbytery explained.

"The members of the Commission are deeply saddened by this situation and pray for God's justice and healing for all who are involved. There are no allegations of wrongdoing against the current pastor or leadership of the church," the Presbytery said in a statement. "The Commission will continue to work alongside the church's leaders and is cooperating fully with the Allegheny County District Attorney's office in its investigation," the Presbytery concluded.

Peck’s attorney criticized the Presbytery’s handling of the dispute, saying, "It is shocking that the Pittsburgh Presbytery has chosen to resolve an honest dispute in this manner."

On Tuesday, Peck turned himself in but was released after making bail. He currently has a preliminary hearing scheduled for May 13.

ChurchLeaders.com reportedly reached out to the Community House, but its current pastor directed them to the Presbytery, noting that the congregation is not ready to address the Peck situation publicly.

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Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer. He is also the co-hosts of the For Your Soul podcast, which seeks to equip the church with biblical truth and sound doctrine. Visit his blog Blessed Are The Forgiven.