The church’s progress after the shattering loss does not mean the congregation fully comprehends what happened the Wednesday morning in March 2006 when Matthew Winkler died.
“The pieces just do not fit together,” said Fourth Street member Pam Killingsworth. “I think there’s some things that weren’t meant to be understood. And we’re just going to have to live with that fact and go on with our lives.
“At this point,” she added, “I’m ready just to give it to God, and let him take care of it.”
Friday, April 20, 2007
Preacher's Wife -- Guilty
I've posted a couple of times on clergy related issues. One was a discussion of a Time Magazine article on pastor's wives. Yesterday I posted the results of a survey that said that clergy express the most job satisfaction of any profession/vocation. Today, I read first in the LA Times the verdict in the Mary Winkler trial.
Mary was convicted of voluntary manslaughter in the murder of her husband, Matthew Winkler, who at the time of his death was pastor of 4th Street Church of Christ in Semler, TN. Winkler claims that the shotgun she was holding during a fight with her husband had gone off accidentally --- which is probably why she got the lesser sentence. She tells of a life of abuse, physical, emotional, and even sexual. It's a sorry tale, and of course much of it went on behind closed doors with no witnesses. Thee are three children, but all are under 10. How could a minister's wife do such things? And then of course, if, as I suspect she is, telling the truth, how could a pastor do such things to his wife. Ah, but that's the tale we neither wish to tell nor to hear.
But the family, as traumatized as they must be, aren't the only parties involved. There is also a church, now without a pastor and facing questions about its judgment in selecting a pastor. From Ted Parks' article in the Church of Christ magazine the Christian Chronicle, we find out more about what's going on from within.
Indeed, this is a tragedy that affects families, congregations, and the church at large. In a week when we contemplate acts of violence, we find that this story is added to the others, and we grieve and we wonder. We pray and hope for better days.
Mary Winkler's story reminds us that even within the sanctity of a family, yes a clergy family, all may not be right. It's too bad that Mary didn't have a safe haven, but as is true of many pastor's wives there appears to have been no place to go and so she suffered in silence so as not to embarrass her husband -- until it was too late.
Thanks to Rebecca and News Muse for the tip on the Ted Parks article.