John graduated from West Edgecombe High School, Rocky Mount, NC on May 21, 1944. On the senior roll, he is listed as Bert Parker, a short version of his middle name that many of his family still use. The North Carolina Conference of the IPHC awarded him with Local Minister’s License on September 1, 1945, stating he “has been duly licensed to preach, according to the Word of God and the Discipline of The Pentecostal Holiness Church.” It is evident from this that the call of God on his life began in John at an early age.
From Rocky Mount, NC, John attended Holmes Bible College in Greenville, SC. John’s mother had quickened his interest in missions from an early age. The call became more definite during his first year at Holmes. John says that once he agreed to his call to preach, his call to the mission field was easy. On May 16, 1947 he graduated with a Bachelor of Theology degree.
A diploma was not all that John acquired at Holmes. He had caught the attention of a young lady who was teaching at the school. Despite strict male/female segregation rules, romance cannot be stopped, and soon the pair was talking about a future life together, particularly as missionaries to China. John mentioned to Edna that since they were both called to China they might as well go together. Edna thought that was a great idea! On June 21, 1949, they were wed in Garland, NC.
John had already begun his first pastoral assignment at the Bethel Pentecostal Holiness Church in August 1947. His new bride joined him and they continued to pastor until 1951. While pastoring, he attended East Carolina University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in English and Social Studies.
With the communist revolution in China, that area of the world was closed to missionaries, so John and Edna volunteered to go anywhere they were needed. On Christmas Day 1951, they departed Garland, NC for San Jose, Costa Rica. The first year was difficult adjusting to a different culture and learning the Spanish language. For 23 years, John worked in Costa Rica establishing a conference, many churches, and a Bible school to raise up local leadership to carry on the work of the gospel. In 1974, feeling his work in Costa Rica was complete, John accepted a position as instructor and Dean of the School of Religion at Southwestern Christian University in Oklahoma City, OK.
In 1978, the call back to the mission field and his first love led John to accept the position of General Supervisor for the IPHC in Asia. Twenty-seven years after saying yes to the call to China, he and Edna landed in Hong Kong right on the doorstep to China. For eight years, John traveled all over Asia ministering to many people groups and cultures while preparing to hand over much of the Asian church work to qualified national leaders.
In 1988, after a two-year assignment in Chile to help establish a Bible school, the Parkers moved yet again when John was appointed General Supervisor of the IPHC work in Europe and the Middle East. This was a new frontier for the IPHC so John felt ministerial training was a key cornerstone in laying a strong foundation. Working closely with the Centre for International Christian Ministries in London, he helped train and equip nationals from around the world in church planting and evangelization. In 1993 John and Edna relocated to Dunn, NC close to their home roots.
From 1993 to 1997, when he retired from the World Missions Ministries Division, John was on special assignment in advanced ministry studies anywhere in the world where he was needed.
The North Carolina Conference under the leadership of Superintendent Chris Thompson was aggressively planting Hispanic churches to meet the large influx of Hispanics to NC. John was asked to help spearhead the effort to train and mentor Hispanic pastors and leaders.
Over the years, John and Edna have set up housekeeping on four different continents while pursuing the call of God on their lives. His teaching gift has been used to touch thousands of people in a multitude of cultures and languages.
John is survived by his lovely wife Edna, one son David B. Parker and wife Irvina of Oklahoma City; two grandchildren: David Ryan Parker and wife Jessica; Jennifer Nicole Terry and husband Shane; three great-grandchildren: Aubrey, Tristan, and Jasper; two sisters Virginia Parker and Lillie Vick, numerous nieces and nephews; and a host of friends in the US and around the world.
The family would like to thank those special people who have been involved in John’s care over the last several months: Right at Home Health (especially Donna) and Integris Hospice. We are grateful to a multitude of friends and family for your prayers, phone calls, cards, and visitation.
We are having two services and viewings as follows:
6:00 to 9:00 pm Tuesday, July 19
Mercer Adams Funeral Home
3925 N. Asbury
Bethany OK 73008
2:00 pm Wednesday, July 20
River of Life
901 NW 150th Street
Oklahoma City, OK 73142
5:00 to 8:00 pm Friday, July 22
Cromartie-Miller-Lee Funeral Home
401 W. Cumberland St.
Dunn, NC 28334
11:00 am Saturday, July 23
8443 Fayetteville Rd.
Falcon, NC 28342
Interment will follow at the Falcon Memorial Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the John Parker Memorial Fund for refurbishing the Costa Rican Bible Institute. Donations can be sent to IPHC World Missions; PO Box 12609; Oklahoma City, OK 73157.
[Editor's Comment: It was my honor and distinct privilege to get to meet and know John and Edna Parker. I have welcomed them into the churches I pastored. I have traveled overseas with them. John could speak in Spanish as well as English. He was a great communicator. I have been to his home in Dunn, NC, on numerous occasions. He was a scholar, a Biblical preacher, teacher, and a God-called missionary to the world. He served as a contributing writer for Hugh's News. He was my treasured and trusted friend. I will miss this great man of God. John, I plan to meet you in heaven someday.
If you wish to write Edna Parker, here is her new mailing address:
Mrs. Edna Parker
4105 Rambling Rose
Yukon, OK 73099]