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.

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