Opinions expressed here are my own and do not represent the views of the congregation I joyfully serve. But my congregation loves me!

Monday, March 09, 2009

"He Died Doing What He Loved"


I didn't hear about this until tonight. A pastor of a church in Illinois was shot and killed during a church service. Congregants wrestled down the assailant and held him until police arrived. Two others were wounded. Here is the story in the Johnson City Press.

MARYVILLE, Ill. — A pastor shot and killed during his Sunday sermon deflected the first of the gunman’s four rounds with a Bible, sending a confetti-like spray of paper into the air in a horrifying scene that congregants initially thought was a skit, police said.

The gunman strode down the aisle of the sprawling First Baptist Church shortly after 8 a.m. and briefly spoke with The Rev. Fred Winters, then pulled out a .45-caliber semiautomatic pistol and began firing until it jammed, Illinois State Police Director Larry Trent said. Churchgoers wrestled the gunman to the ground as he waved a knife, slashing himself and two other people, Trent said.
CNN reported that the suspect has been charged. No motivation has yet been determined.

Speculation about mental illness due to Lyme Disease was reported here.

Others described the attacker, Terry Sedlacek, as an "odd bird."

It was apparently a premeditated event as "death day" was marked on his planner, according to this story.

I am sure we will find out more details in the days ahead. Meanwhile, we offer our deepest condolences to the family of Pastor Fred Winters and the people of his church and community and keep them, the attacker and his family in our prayers.


Church members say Pastor Winters died doing what he loved, "giving people inspiration and perspective."


People can donate to the Winters Family Memorial Fund by calling (618) 345-1000 or via care of Scott Credit Union, 1100 Beltline Road, Collinsville, 62234. Donations also are accepted for the First Baptist Church Maryville Building Fund at 7110 State Route 162.


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