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Funeral set for slain Ill. pastor

MARYVILLE, Ill. (BP)–Funeral arrangements have been announced for the Illinois Baptist pastor who was gunned down Sunday while delivering his morning sermon.

Fred Winters was killed March 8 when a gunman entered the 8:15 a.m. worship service at First Baptist Church in Maryville, Ill. and fired on him.

Visitation will be held at the church March 12, from 2-8 p.m. Funeral services will be held at the church on March 13 at 10:30 a.m. The church is located at 7110 State Route 162 in Maryville.

The family will hold a private burial service.

The gunman, 27-year-old Terry Joe Sedlacek of Troy, Ill., has been charged with murder and aggravated battery.

Sedlacek walked into the first of three scheduled morning worship services and fired four shots before his .45-caliber semi-automatic handgun jammed. He then stabbed himself before a stunned congregation of about 150.

Two church members, Terry Bullard, 39, and Keith Melton, 51, both of nearby Troy, Ill., were stabbed while subduing Sedlacek. Melton was treated and sent home, while Bullard and Sedlacek remain hospitalized.

Melton told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Sedlacek walked to the edge of the platform where Winters was preaching. According to Melton, Winters said, “Good morning. Can I help you?” Sedlacek then fired several shots at Winters.

Melton rushed to the stage, where the two men were struggling on the floor. He pulled Sedlacek off Winters and the man attempted to flee but other church members subdued him.

Winters’ wife, Cindy, released a statement through a spokesman, assistant pastor Mark Jones, that said her husband “died doing what he loved — communicating the hope found in Jesus Christ. God is so much bigger than this situation, and our hope and trust is in Him.”

Gifts may be made to the Winters Family Memorial Fund by calling 618-345-1000 or sending checks to: Winters Family Memorial Fund, Scott Credit Union, 1100 Beltline Road, Collinsville, IL 62234. Memorial gifts also may be made to the First Baptist Church Maryville Building Fund by calling 618-667-8221.
Lisa Sergent is associate editor of the Illinois Baptist (on the Web at www.ibsa.org), newsjournal of the Illinois Baptist State Association. For more information about First Baptist Church in Maryville, visit fbmaryville.org.

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  • Lisa Sergent