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His family knew and were trying to help, but everyone else was in the dark about Pastor Teddy Parker’s mental health struggles until he shot himself in his truck in the driveway of his home in Warner Robins, Ga., on Sunday.

“Everybody is just kind of stunned right now. I think a lot of people are just trying to understand why that happened. We’re just praying to the Lord for guidance on this,” Russell Rowland, one of Parker’s disciples at Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church in Macon, Ga., told The Christian Post Tuesday morning.

By Tuesday evening, however, the painful truth behind Parker’s death began slowly coming to light.

“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., says.

“He needed to take a break from Ministry and the way our culture is, the culture forbids that. How much do you share? How much grace do people allow?” he explained.

The death of his friend has come as a shock to Smith. He had known Parker for more than 20 years, since he was a teenage youth minister at Fellowship Bible Baptist Church run by Smith’s godfather, the-late Willie L. Reid in Warner Robins, Ga.

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Pastor Who Killed Self Battled Manic Depression, Struggled to Keep It Secret  was originally published on