Widow Marks Anniversary of Maryville Church Shooting

| March 5, 2010

MARYVILLE, Ill. (KTVI-FOX2now.com) – The widow of pastor Fred Winters plans to mark the painful anniversary of her husband's murder by speaking in front of the congregation of First Baptist Church in Maryville, IL. "My heart has ached and my family and church community have grieved and cried a thousand tears," said Cindy Winters. She told reporters how she plans to speak from the heart on Sunday during two services.

The first will be at 9 a.m. and the second will be at 11 a.m.

The special services are called, "Remembering and Reflecting: One Year Later" and are open to the public.

The church is located at 7110 State Rt. 162 in Maryville, IL.

"I wish my children weren't suffering I wish my life was easier and I would love for there to be one day without struggle." Winters told reporters during a news conference on Thursday.

Pastor Fred Winters was leading a Sunday worship service on March 8th, 2009 when police say a troubled man walked into the church, shot and killed him.

Winters says she prays for the accused shooter and his family.

"My ultimate hope is that he will find peace in god and that this will be something that will help strengthen their family much like its strengthening my family right now," said Winters.

That strength comes from her faith. In some ways Winters feels her faith is stronger than ever before.

"Death and tragedy have a way of putting life into proper perspective and making what's important rise to the top," said Winters.

She confesses the shooting has challenged her faith but believes it's important to share her feelings with others.

"I really hope in doing so other people will be strengthened, filled with hope and will be encouraged to seek healing for their own heart if necessary," she said.

Winters says her husband's vision for the church lives on. Just days before his murder, Pastor Fred sketched out plans for a major expansion.

First Baptist broke ground for that expansion just last month.



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Category: Church Security

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