Evangelical Lutheran Church in Papa New Guinea Mourns Loss of Bishop; ELCIC National Bishop Expresses Condolences

Head Bishop, the Rt. Rev. Dr. Wesley Kigasung, of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Papua New Guinea (ELC-PNG), passed away Wednesday, May 14 at Angau Memorial Hospital. He was 58 at the time of his death.

News sources from Papua New Guinea (PNG) report Bishop Kigasung suffered chest pains on May 14 and collapsed at his Ampo home and rushed to Eriku Medical Centre and later Agnau.

Upon receiving the news, ELCIC National Bishop Susan C. Johnson wrote to the Office of the General Secretary at ELC-PNG Headoffice to extend to the church deepest sympathy at the death of Bishop Kigasung. "Our hearts go out to your church, and in particular to the Kigasung family as [they] mourn the death of a bishop, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a colleague and a friend." said Bishop Johnson.

ELCIC Long-term Missionary Bonnie Weppler, who is leaving this week to pursue graduate studies in Canada after serving in PNG since 1997, worked closely with Bishop Kigasung in the ELC-PNG Headoffice at Ampo. In an email to the ELCIC National Office, Weppler said, "He was an inspiration to me – in his dealings with people, in how he lived his faith, in how strong his faith was. He was a mentor. He told me just last week that he wanted to attend my graduation."

Church and national flags in PNG were at half-mast out in respect for the passing of the bishop. According to information from the church office, a state funeral for Bishop Kigasung took place Tuesday in Port Moresby, followed by a church funeral service on May 24 in Lae and burial on May 25 at his home village in Aluki, Bukawa.

Bishop Kigasung was elected Head Bishop in January 1998. He is survived by his wife Susie Manempen Kigasung, two daughters and two granddaughters.

The ELCIC has long-standing partner church relationship with the ELC-PNG which has 900,000 members.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada is Canada’s largest Lutheran denomination with 174,555 baptized members in 620 congregations. It is a member of the Lutheran World Federation, the Canadian Council of Churches and the World Council of Churches.

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