CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Senior Minister of Myers Park Baptist Church preached his final sermon on Sunday.
Reverend Doctor Stephen Shoemaker said his goodbyes on Sunday. Previously he wrote a letter to the church saying he needed to focus full time on continuing his recovery.
Earlier in February Shoemaker, 64, returned after a month of treatment for what he described as struggles with anxiety, depression and “self-medicating with alcohol”.
"I am deeply grateful for the new health I have," Shoemaker told the Observer. "And I believe that in order to continue on that extraordinary path toward wholeness and health, I didn't want to reenter the very stressful life of a senior minister of a 2,200-member church."
Shoemaker said, he'll eventually pursue "a different use of my gifts for the kingdom of God," including teaching and writing.
For now he plans to give his “full attention” to an intensive 90-day out-patient program that was recommended by the center where he was treated in January.