Summit Church pastor says 'I was being fooled'
Lead pastor John Parker told the congregation of Summit Church Wednesday night that he had no idea his friend and senior pastor, Isaac Hunter, had been engaged in a yearlong affair with a church staff member until Hunter voluntarily resigned Nov. 26.
Parker also said he did not know Isaac had a serious drinking problem or that he was abusive to his wife, as Rhonda Hunter alleged in a domestic-violence petition Nov. 30. Isaac has denied those allegations.
Parker said his blindness to his best friend's self-destruction was a failure of leadership. "I don't expect you to trust me," Parker said, but he asked the congregation to forgive him.
At the same time, Parker expressed a sense of betrayal.
"There was another life going on, and I was being fooled," Parker told members who filled the sanctuary of the Orlando church on Herndon Avenue.
Isaac Hunter, the 35-year-old middle son of megachurch pastor the Rev. Joel Hunter, started Summit Church with 300 people in 2002. The church now has five locations and 5,000 members.
In her petition for a domestic-violence restraining order against her husband, Rhonda wrote about calling Parker, then associate pastor of the church, from the Hunters' Winter Park home on Aug. 24 after a drunken Isaac began insulting and threatening her.
"He was getting so verbally abusive that I left the home for my safety. Our 3 children were asleep at the time, so I immediately called John Parker and requested him to come to the home," she wrote. "John agreed to come keep the children safe since I expected Isaac would pass out from too much alcohol."
Parker told the congregation that Isaac assured him that night his drinking was a momentary weakness and not a chronic problem. Subsequently, Isaac reassured Parker and other church officials that he did not have a drinking problem and agreed to seek counseling, according to a statement distributed to the congregation.
"Prior to Isaac's resignation, there were no further concerns expressed to the leadership from Rhonda about Isaac's drinking," the statement said.
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SOURCE: Orlando Sentinel