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Wichita, Kan. – The church where late-term abortion provider George Tiller was killed is bringing in counselors to help members and has received supportive messages from around the world, the senior pastor said.
The Rev. Lowell Michelson of Reformation Lutheran Church said crisis intervention experts will help people through group and individual counseling.
“That’s certainly not going to wash the issue away,” Michelson said Tuesday, “but it will begin to help us voice some of the things that we’re wrestling with, and then turn our sights to healing and recovery and hope.”
Scott Roeder, 51, has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of Tiller, who was shot Sunday in the foyer of the church, where the doctor was an usher. Roeder also is charged with aggravated assault for allegedly threatening two people, including another usher, at the church who tried to stop him.
The usher, Gary Hoepner, told The Associated Press on Wednesday that Roeder had attended services at the church before the shooting.
Hoepner said Roeder sometimes put odd notes rather than money in the collection plate, including one that read: “Do you believe in taxes?”
Roeder got involved with anti-government groups more than a decade ago, his former wife has said.
Michelson said he has prayed for Roeder.
“I don’t know that everyone is able to pray for him right now,” Michelson said. “I don’t know about human forgiveness and if and when that would ever come from some of the folks who have been mostly deeply hurt by this.”
He said the church as received an outpouring of support in letters, e-mails, phone calls and even text messages.
“One of the things, as people of faith, that is so great is to know that in those times when you’re struggling, there’s so many folks that are offering to carry you along,” he said.

Associated Press
Information from: The Wichita Eagle,
Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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