David Parker sits on a stool in the corner of Mooney’s Irish Pub, singing a medley of songs that includes The Doobie Brothers, Michael Jackson and the Eagles. He throws in some originals that have a decidedly country twinge. There’s a beer nearby. David’s ears are pierced, and he’s sporting a blond soul patch. It’s no wonder that the dancers around him are surprised when the bartender tells them that David is a pastor and the founder of SummitLIFE, a “faith community or church for people who don’t like church,” as David describes it.
David has been playing guitar and singing since he was 12 years old and growing up in a small town in Missouri. His mom was a singer and guitar player who played gigs five nights a week even as a single mom raising five kids. David remembers going to Little League practice and then joining his mom onstage for a show. He attended Missouri State University as a music major before leaving school to make it on his own. He wound up marrying his high school sweetheart at a young age and eventually returning to school to become a youth pastor. Over the next few years, he played in a Christian alternative rock band, hit the road, recorded some albums, became a father three times over (his 16-year-old daughter, Hannah, frequently joins him at Mooney’s), worked as a youth pastor, and lived in Chicago and Nashville. His family made their way to Sedona in July 2012, partly because they were following friends, partly because David felt he received a sign from God telling him he needed to be here. Two weeks after moving to Red Rock Country, he started SummitLIFE in his living room. Today, the church meets at West Sedona School where David and his band, The Big Time, play every Sunday morning.
David recorded a solo album in 2010 and has plans to record a second one just as soon as life calms down (he’s also a softball coach at West Sedona School). He says most of his original songs are about his family, his wife and his faith, though he doesn’t consider himself a Christian artist. “Isn’t everything spiritual in one manner or another?” – Erika Ayn Finch. Photo by Deb Weinkauff.
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