The pastor of a church in Macon, Georgia reportedly shot himself while his congregation were waiting for him to preach on Sunday service, authorities said.
According to 13 WMAZ, Rev. Teddy Parker Jr., 42, of Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia, was discovered by his wife in the driveway of their Warner Robins home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
"He was suffering with manic depression and he had some emotional issues that he had been dealing with. [He was] in treatment, but he just couldn't step away from ministry," Parker's longtime friend, Dr. E. Dewey Smith Jr., senior pastor at The House of Hope Atlanta (Greater Travelers Rest) in Decatur, Ga., told the Christian Post.
"He was seeking help, but I think he just needed to step away. It's hard for pastors, particularly in the African-American church, to step away because the church is so personality driven some people are not prepared for the pastor to step away," Smith explained.
"Pastors and ministers...and sometimes Christians in general....are some of the loneliest, chronically frustrated, unsure, depressed and stressed people in the world, despite the joy in Jesus that we try to convince others that they should have when we minister to them." Pastor Gabriel Stovall, founder and lead pastor of NewLife Christian Church in the Atlanta, GA metro area, wrote in a blog.
Stovall went on and said, "There is little true friendship, relationship or brother/sisterhood anymore. We walk around secretly carrying the loads of hurt, pain and guilt because we know that if people really knew some of our true thoughts, struggles, frustrations, insecurities, fears, etc., they would be misconstrued, misinterpreted and misunderstood and we would be seen as being 'less anointed', weak or spiritually immature."
He urged Pastors and go be counseled when it is needed, "Go be listened to by someone outside of your preaching circle. Go find a good therapist...And when you have returned to health, go and strengthen your brothers." he wrote.
Rev. Teddy Parker entered the ministry when he was 22 and was called to serve as Pastor of Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church in July 1997, he also serves as CEO of Next Level Community Development Center Inc., which caters to the entire man, the church's website states.
Parker leaves behind wife Larrinecia Sims Parker and two daughters.