Wednesday, June 3, 2009

KANSAS: Wichita-area clergy, Presiding Bishop express horror at George Tiller's murder

[Episcopal News Service] Bishop Dean E. Wolfe of the Episcopal Diocese of Kansas and a dozen clergy who serve Episcopal churches in the metropolitan Wichita area have issued a statement expressing their sadness and horror at the murder on May 31 of abortion doctor George Tiller.

Tiller, a physician who provided abortions, had become a target of people who oppose the procedure. He was shot dead during a Sunday morning service in his church, Reformation Lutheran Church in Wichita.

Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in a June 2 statement that she was horrified to learn of Tiller's murder "made even more painful for occurring in a place of worship and sanctuary. I pray for him and for his family, that all may know they are held in the palm of God's hand. I also pray for those who believe that violence is ever the answer to disputes or differences, that they, too, may be healed.

According to reports, 51-year-old abortion opponent Scott Roeder was arrested a few hours following the shooting as the prime suspect in Tiller's murder.

The Wichita-area clergy included 10 priests and two deacons, along with Wolfe. In their statement, they said Tiller's murder "was not a Christian act; this is not what Jesus taught," adding that their faith in Jesus Christ makes them "absolutely certain that violence will never prevail, and that darkness will not win."

The clergy said they were reaching out to neighbors of all faiths in Wichita and beyond.

By early afternoon June 1, two Wichita rectors had announced that they would be available to their parishioners for special prayers June 3. The Rev. Cathie Caimano of St. John's Church said her parish's regular Wednesday Evening Prayer service would include special prayers for the tragedy. Dean Kate Moorehead of St. James' Church told her parishioners in an email that she would be at the church in the evening June 3 to pray and talk with anyone who wanted to stop by.

The clergy statement, along with its signatories, is available here.

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