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Brown County Church Organist Fired, Church Offers Reconciliation
Updated May 16, 2017 7:01 AM
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(BROWN CO.) - St. David's Episcopal Church in Brown County has fired its church organist after he admitted to defacing the church with hateful graffiti last year.

But members of the church are ready to forgive organist and choir director 26-year-old George Nathan Stang for his action and welcome him back into the congregation.

On May 12, the church terminated his employment, according to a news release on its website.

"After discussions with church leadership and congregational members, our church community has offered Mr. Stang a path to reconciliation and possible future re-employment," the news release from the Rev. Kelsey Hutto states. "Following discovery of the graffiti, we proclaimed a message of love and forgiveness. This message is at the core of what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and we did not want that message to be empty talk."

The reverend added that many people were affected by the graffiti sprayed with black paint on the Bean Blossom church.

"Supporters of President Trump, those who are Jewish or have ties to the Jewish community, and those in the gay community all were hurt. We hope that in time forgiveness and reconciliation can be reached by all sides. We will continue to offer the love of God to all people regardless of where you come from, what you believe, what color you are or who you love."

"We hope and pray that Mr. Stang will accept our offer and embark on this journey with us, which will include counseling, meetings, community service and a variety of opportunities for Mr. Stang to reconcile with our church community."

Stang told police he vandalized the church to "mobilize a movement" after being disappointed in and fearful of the presidential election results. He told police his actions were not motivated by "anti-Christian or anti-gay" feelings; rather, they were strictly out of fear and he wanted to incite anger and bring people together to fight hate. He told police that as a gay man, he feared for the nation's future

Stang is facing charges of institutional criminal mischief in connection with the vandalism that occurred last year at St. David's Episcopal Church located at the intersection of Ind. 135 and Ind. 45 in the Brown County community of Bean Blossom.

The investigation began on November 13, 2016 when Reverend Kelsey Hutto called police to report that the phrase "HEIL TRUMP" was painted on the north wall of the building, and a swastika and gay slur were painted on the west side.
She told police she was alerted to the graffiti from Stang, who pretended to discover the vandalism when he arrived early for services on the Sunday following the presidential election.

Officers obtained a search warrant for Stang's detailed phone records and determined he was in the area of the church from 10:38 p.m. and 10:44 p.m. on the night the vandalism occurred.

Police questioned Stang at his apartment on February 23, 2017, and he denied being at the church on Saturday.

But when an officer questioned Stang again on April 28, 2017, he admitted to vandalizing the church and he was arrested on May 3, 2017. He is being represented by Jospeh T. Lozano who waived an initial hearing on May 12 and requested a jury trial.

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