Former Pastor Isaac Hunter, Son of Megachurch Pastor Joel Hunter, Commits Suicide; Leaves Note Lamenting that he Had Become ‘a Burden’

Isaac Hunter, the troubled son of Northland Church Pastor Joel Hunter, has committed suicide, according to an email sent to members of his former church on Tuesday.

Isaac Hunter, the founding pastor of the popular Summit Church in Orlando.

“We found out today that Isaac took his life,” says the email sent by Darling Murray, a coordinator at Summit Church in Orlando. “We are obviously deeply deeply devastated and saddened beyond words by this news. The tears keep coming and coming as we mourn. We are praying for his family and this congregation as we walk through this together.”
Officials of Northland, a Church Distributed, said they are still awaiting the police report on Isaac Hunter’s death, but the church confirmed his death in a statement posted on the Northland website.
“By now you may have heard that Pastor Joel and Becky’s son Isaac Hunter died today. All of us are grieving for the Hunter family, and we will deeply miss Isaac. Words cannot express the sorrow we’re feeling,” said the statement by Vernon Rainwater, a Northland pastor. “We love this family and are so grateful for the impact they have had on each of our lives. I have loved Isaac since he was a child, and I know this … Isaac loved Jesus. And we are assured of his continuing relationship with Christ now in heaven.”
Summit Church officials did not respond to requests for comment.
Isaac Hunter, 36, resigned on Nov. 26, 2012, from the megachurch he founded after he admitted to other Summit pastors that he had engaged in an affair with a staff member. His wife of 13 years, Rhonda Hunter, subsequently filed a domestic-violence petition against Hunter, describing him as unstable, erratic and suicidal.
In court documents, family members said they found an undated suicide note addressed to Summit Church leaders.
“I would very much like to be remembered as a person who loved his children, his parents, his brothers, and his best friends — well, while I could,” the note said. “I fear I will love them better in my absence. As I have become what I never wished to be, a burden on those I love the most.”
According to Orange County court documents, Isaac Hunter filed for divorce from Rhonda Hunter on Oct. 4, 2013.
Isaac, Joel Hunter’s middle child, founded Summit Church in 2002 from a youth ministry at his father’s church. Starting with 300 members, Summit became one of the fastest-growing churches in Central Florida with five locations and an estimated congregation of 5,000.
In her domestic-violence petition, Rhonda Hunter said her husband abused drugs and alcohol and had guns in the house. Isaac Hunter denied the allegations that he was abusive to his wife or a danger to his three children.
SOURCE: Jeff Kunerth, Orlando Sentinel
jkunerth@tribune.com or 407-420-5392
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Megachurch pastor Joel Hunter’s son dead in apparent suicide
Megachurch founder Isaac Hunter, who is son of another megachurch pastor Joel Hunter, was found dead in an apparent suicide, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Isaac Hunter, 36 and father of three, had resigned from the megachurch he founded after he admitted that he had engaged in an affair with a staff member. His wife of 13 years had filed a domestic-violence petition against Hunter, describing him as unstable, erratic and suicidal, according to the Sentinel. Hunter’s resignation in the fall of 2012 was one of three Orlando pastors who left their pulpits after admitting affairs.
Joel Hunter has been a spiritual adviser to President Obama. Hunter’s spokesman said the Hunter family does not have a statement at this time.
SOURCE: Sarah Pulliam Bailey
Religion News Service

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