Starrville Methodist Church member describes pastor, wife as caring people

Church Members React

SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KTRE) - Those in the Starrville community and members of Starrville Methodist Church are gathering tomorrow to join in prayer, just a few days after their pastor was shot and killed.

Sunday morning Pastor Mark McWilliams confronted Mytrez Woolen, who had broken a window earlier that morning to seek shelter following a manhunt. During the confrontation, Woolen took McWilliams’ gun and shot and killed him.

On Monday, it was more quiet in Starrville. The yellow tape and emergency vehicles are gone. Now community and church members are praying for those affected by Sunday’s shooting at Starrville Methodist Church.

Don Kreider said he was getting ready to go to services Sunday morning.

“I walk to the church; it’s within walking distance. And I was planning to go and got a phone call from one of the people that was at the church that was involved in the incident. He had just called 911 and then called me next, to let me know what had happened,” he said. “And so then I just immediately went down there.”

Kreider said he met with the man that called him and as others arrived, they talked and tried to comfort one another.

“Had a moment with the pastor’s wife before she got in the ambulance to just say a prayer with her and able to try and… what do you say?’ Kreider said. “There’s not much you can say in those situations, except to do as the scripture says, ‘You weep with those who weep.’”

The man who called him is a friend. Kreider says he is known in their community.

“And he’s been here at my home from time to time and we’ve chatted about different things. He is a very caring, compassionate person, and he’s a people person.” Kreider said. “He likes the people of the community, he encouraged people to go to church.”

He said Pastor McWilliams came in a couple of years ago and is a committed Christian. But it wasn’t just the pastor who made the church what it was.

“He and his wife worked together as a team, as pastor and pastor’s wife. She’s an excellent pastor’s wife,” he said. “Very caring about people, very useful to help plan things, took care of the bulletin, and just a very exciting couple to work for a church. They worked together very well.”

The church hosts a community prayer Tuesdays from 3 to 4 p.m.

“Obviously tomorrow will be a little different as far as the hurt that’s going to be there and the uncertainty of where do we go from here, without a pastor at the moment,” Kreider said.

Woolen is booked into the Smith County jail with a bond set at $3.5 million.

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