Rader's church finds ways to cope

When people of faith need guidance, they often turn to the Bible for help—Scriptures that help them make sense of the world.

The Rev. Michael Clark is considering offering a special Bible study to help members of Christ Lutheran Church cope with the arrest of their former council president, BTK suspect Dennis Rader.

The church has been reeling since police arrested Rader in February.

The Lutheran, the magazine for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, featured a story about Clark and the church at 53rd North and Hillside in its May issue.

A note before a Bible study guide included as part of that story reads:

"Police have charged Dennis Rader with very serious crimes. But as our legal system justly stipulates, he is presumed innocent until found otherwise in a court of law. Nothing in the following study guide —exploring evil and the nature of evil in our world — should be construed as implying guilt or innocence in any particular criminal case."

Asked how the church will handle the next few months as Rader prepares for trial, Clark said, "That is a good question — I don't have an easy answer."

But he thinks a Bible study might help church members make sense of the news.

Meanwhile, Clark continues to meet regularly with Rader in jail. Clark met with Rader for a long time Friday and was planning to meet with him today.

He attended the court hearing Tuesday at which Rader stood mute and the judge entered not-guilty pleas in the 10 murder charges against him.

"I had no idea what to expect in terms of what was going to happen," Clark said. "I think I understand the legal move. It still leaves the option for Dennis to make a plea of guilty or not guilty at any point in time. The judge had a legal responsibility to protect his interest to the fullest."

Clark said he could not discuss whether he and Rader have talked about Rader's plans in the case.