On the Shooting of George Tiller
from Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson
ELCA Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson issued a statement in response to the May 31 murder of Dr. George Tiller at Reformation Lutheran Church, an ELCA congregation in Wichita, Kansas. Pastors Lowell R. Michelson and Kristin M. Neitzel serve the congregation. It is part of the ELCA Central States Synod, led by Bishop Gerald L. Mansholt.
June 1, 2009
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
Dr. George Tiller and his wife, Jeanne, were gathering with the people of Reformation Lutheran Church to worship and to celebrate Pentecost — the coming of the Holy Spirit to God's people. It is unconscionable that Dr. Tiller, who was serving as an usher and welcoming people to worship, should be brutally murdered.
In the wake of his death we pray that the Holy Spirit will comfort his family and all who mourn. We pray for the courage to be peacemakers, rejecting violence as a means of resolving differences. We trust God's promise that neither death nor life nor anything in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
On behalf of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, I express gratitude to God for the witness of the people of Reformation Lutheran Church and for the pastoral care being offered by Bishop Mansholt and pastors Michelson and Neitzel in this tragic circumstance.
Today we cry out "Lord have mercy!' And we are so bold to proclaim and believe Jesus is the resurrection and the life. (John 11:25)
Mark S. Hanson