Congregation mourns slain Farmville pastor

By Tara Morgan - bio | email
Posted by Chris Berdoz - email

FARMVILLE, VA (WWBT) - We've learned that Pastor Mark Niederbrock had ties to Richmond.

Niederbrock went to seminary school in Richmond.  He was pastor of Walker's Presbyterian Church in Hixburg, which is in Appomattox County near Farmville.

The congregation is trying to come to terms with this shocking crime. Niederbrock was more than a pastor to them, he was family.

At the edge of a ball field, near the Farmville crime scene, flowers and candles left in remembrance.

Some twenty miles away in Hixburg, Marvin Glover shared fond memories of his friend, Pastor Mark Niederbrock.

"He'd come by about supper time. 'Mark come and eat with us', 'No, I haven't got time'. 'Come and get you a plate.' He'd sit down and get a plate and four hours later he'd be sitting there telling jokes," said longtime church member, Marvin Glover.

Pastor Niederbrock was one of four people found murdered in the home of his estranged wife, Debra Kelley.

Although not confirmed by police, the other three victims are believed to be Kelly, a Longwood professor, her 16 year old daughter Emma and Emma's friend, Melanie Wells.

Glover says Emma was home schooled and into the Goth scene.

Niederbrock's mother flew in from Illinois to make funeral arrangements.

"She is depressed but she's holding up pretty good better than I thought she would," said Glover.

In 2003, Niederbrock came to Walker's Presbyterian as a student pastor from Union Theological Seminary in Richmond.

After graduation three years later, he took on the role full time.

In a statement, seminary staff members expressed condolences and offered prayers for healing.

"He just fit in like the rest of us he didn't know extra being a preacher he was just one of us," said longtime church member Luther Glenn.

A driving force behind his congregation's community involvement, like building homes for charity.

Even after hearing the gruesome news Saturday the community moved forward with its barbecue later that evening which took on a much more somber tone.

"We had 159 people show up and it was subdued it wasn't much fun as we should've had and paid a lot of tribute to Mark," said Glover.

Glover says the church is planning a memorial. We'll let you know when that is finalized.

Meantime, Longwood University has made counseling services available for students.

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