“Trust in God is not an option!” — The Right Rev. John Parker, Jr.
The Right Rev. (Saint) John Parker, Jr., former founder and pastor of Saint Peter’s Parish (the predecessor to Saint Francis Parish) was a man of remarkable faith and love. He was a man of many passions from theater to Amateur Radio as well as a pipe smoking cleric. Bishop Parker was raised an Episcopalian and left the Episcopal church in 1979. He found his way to accepting many of the doctrinal stands that had caused him to leave the Episcopal Church.
He was born in Houston, Texas on March 23, 1943. Bishop Parker earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from William Carey College, Hattiesburg, Mississippi. At the time of his death, he was a student of Erskine Theological Seminary, which he had enrolled in shortly after learning of his cancer diagnosis.
Bishop Parker sought ordination a non-denominational minister in 1995. He would go on to serve as the chaplain for Revolutionary History Interpreters throughout the Southeastern United Sates.
His ordination as a priest and consecration as a bishop happened at the National Synod of the Ancient Apostolic Communion on August 11, 2002. The Ancient Apostolic Communion would later merge into what is now the Old Catholic Churches International. He was the founder and pastor of Saint Peter’s Church in North Augusta, SC. Saint Peter’s would later become Saint Francis Parish and start meeting in Augusta, GA.
Bishop Parker had a strong devotion to Saint Peregrin as well as Saint Augustine of Hippo. He founded an order of Augustinians known as the Order of Saint Peregrin. Their mission was to work with those suffering or dying from cancer.
After Bishop Parker’s health began to decline and he lost the ability to speak due to a tracheotomy; he began to counsel people facing cancer on IRC chat boards on the Internet. He would speak to hundreds of people each week, offering prayer as well as support as they navigated the difficult diagnosis’s they were given.
On the feast of his patron, St. Augustine of Hippo, August 28, 2003, surrounded by his family and Bishop Gregory Godsey, Bishop Parker passed from this life into his eternal reward. Before expiring, he signed to his wife and Bishop Godsey that he loved them. His last act on this earth was to make the sign of the cross. His words of wisdom will always ring in our minds and hearts.
Having been previously beatified, Bishop Parker was canonized on August 28, 2016, with the approval of the Synod of the Old Catholic Churches International.