After over fifteen years of serving an independent Baptist church in Douglasville, GA as pastor, Bill Wininger, Sr resigned when allegations of sexual abuse of children resurfaced after 18 years. King's Way Baptist Church is located about 30 minutes west of Atlanta (about a 30 minute drive from my home in West Georgia). King's Way runs approximately 1000 in attendance and is both an independent church as well as a "King James Only" fellowship. In addition, as one of the oldest private Christian academies in Georgia, King's Way Christian School is owned and operated by King's Way church.
Wininger came to King's Way church to be pastor over fifteen years ago from a previous pastorate at the North Sharon Baptist Church, Grassland, MI where the purported abuse took place. Apparently, an earlier investigation was begun but soon went cold. However, new information surfaced from reportedly more victims of sexual abuse and led to not only a criminal investigation in Michigan, but also spawned Wininger's resignation at King's Way church and academy. The Douglas County Sentinel reports:
Officials did inform parents at King’s Way Christian School about Wininger’s departure in a letter dated Oct. 18 and that they were aware of the allegations in a second letter dated Oct. 27.
“We want to prayerfully inform everyone that we have been informed that our pastor has resigned and will be submitting his formal resignation immediately,” Dr. Ray Conway, King’s Way Christian School administrator, wrote in the Oct. 18 letter. “Pastor Wininger will no longer be involved in the ministry of The King’s Way Baptist Church and King’s Way Christian School. As many of you already know, our pastor has inflicted life-threatening harm upon himself and we would prayerfully ask that you pray for his well-being.”
The Sentinel went on to suggest the letter offered counseling to any who needed it in wake of the developments as it addressed the most recent allegations:
“I have been receiving a few inquiries regarding the allegations against our former Pastor, Bill Wininger. As most of you know, we have accepted Bro. Wininger’s resignation,” Conway wrote in the letter. “Regardless of these events, the church and school leadership are committed to doing what is right and Godly.
“The allegations and charges that are surfacing on the Internet today were events that occurred while Bill Wininger pastored in Michigan 18 years ago. As administrator, I am not aware of any accusations, by students or minors, made against The King’s Way Baptist Church or any of the ministries. Moving forward, the safety and well-being of every child in the ministries of the King’s Way Baptist Church and Christian School has been and will continue to be our highest priority.
King's Way church and academy community needs our prayers and encouragement. They obviously are a broken community. We should also note that no indication I could discern points to any type of "cover-up" by King's Way. In addition, we must pray for the victims of this alleged abuse.
In closing, over the next month at least six Southern Baptist state conventions are poised to consider a similar if not identical resolution on sexual abuse of children as the Southern Baptist Convention passed in June of this year.
"Pastor resigns amid abuse allegations" by Bob Allen