Pastor in Macon, Georgia sent his family ahead of him to church before committing suicide. Reverend Teddy Parker, Jr., of Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church, was found in his driveway by his wife, Larrinecia Parker; with a self-inflicted gun wound.
Parker’s actions have left his wife, two daughters, a host of family and friends along with an 800 member congregation in shock.
One member of the church, Russell Rowland, told the Christian Post that on Sunday morning Parker sent his family ahead of him; the family, along with the congregation, was waiting for him to appear and preach the message.
After some time, Parker still hadn’t arrived; his wife went to look for him.
Rowland said he is very surprised that his pastor would end his own life. He said Pastor Parker preached against suicide and this has left the congregation in a state of bewilderment. They just don’t understand.
Members of the church gathered together on Monday night in a very solemn setting, according to Rowland. He said everyone is just stunned right now; they are trying to understand why this happened. Rowland said they are asking God for guidance through this tough time.
According to the Houston County Sheriff’s office the suicide was reported at 1:30 on Sunday afternoon. Parker’s wife and brother, Anthony Parker, were at the scene when authorities arrived.
Parker’s family is devastated. They knew he was struggling with mental health issues and were trying to help him; but never saw this coming.
Rowland said his pastor was a good man. He was caring, upbeat and showed no obvious signs of financial or other troubles.
The church is in the process of building a new edifice and appears to be doing well.
When Rowland was questioned about his faith, after realizing his pastor had committed suicide, he answered without hesitation saying that he won’t stop believing. He says he still believes in God, his pastor’s teachings and his faith is still solid.
He said Pastor Parker is the main reason he is a member of Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church; nothing has changed. Rowland said he’s in awe of what just happened and he’s wondering why but knows ultimately that it’s between him and God. He says all he can do is pray.
Many of Parker’s fellow clergymen, members and friends have either posted their sentiments on their church website or on their social media sites. They have expressed their sorrow and love for him and his family.
Many have found themselves reviewing some of his recent sermons for signs that he was struggling with some issues. One message in particular entitled, “Facing Your Storm With Confidence” has been referenced several times. In this sermon Parker has been noted saying that he tries to pray but doesn’t feel as if God hears him; he tries to serve but doesn’t feel like God is using him.
As they continue to search, slowly and surely, they believe other signs will be revealed to them.
Close friend of Parker, Dr. E. Dewey Smith, Jr., said he knew Parker was suffering with manic depression and had been dealing with emotional issues but was in treatment. Smith said Parker just couldn’t back away from ministry. Smith is the senior pastor at The House of Hope Atlanta (Greater Travelers Rest) in Decatur, Georgia.
Smith said Parker needed a break but their church culture doesn’t allow for that. He, too, was shocked to learn of his friend’s death.
According to the church’s website Parker was born June 1971 and he has two sisters and one brother.
Parker attended Theology International Seminary in Florida. He was ordained a minister at Fellowship Bible Baptist Church at the young age of 22.
He transitioned to the pastorate of Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church in July 1997. During his tenure as pastor the church has renovated the sanctuary, built a family life center and has expanded to include 20 new ministries.
Parker was CEO of the Next Level Community Development Center; a community center which offers children’s after school and summer programs.
Officials for the church are asking for privacy while the church deals with the tragic loss of their 42-year-old pastor.
The pastor of Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church, Reverend Teddy Parker, Jr., sent his family ahead to church as was later found dead in the driveway of his home. He leaves to mourn his passing a wife, two daughters, friends, family and an 800 member congregation.
At this time funeral arrangements have not been confirmed.
By: Cherese Jackson (Virginia)