Meet James and Rachel Parker
What does the guy who is leading music dislike the most? Spiders. When you meet James Parker, you quickly discover he is a spider expert, can tell you all about their living habits and will check behind things leaning against a wall. James and his wife Rachel came to Southwood almost two years ago. This time last year James joined the musicians who led the music in worship. When the two services began last fall, James was instrumental in using his education and talents in helping the church leadership craft the second service. He was pursuing his bachelor’s in nursing at UAH at the time. God led James and the Session to realize James’ training, discernment and heart were exactly what Southwood needed for music and worship. He was named Chief Musician in January 2008. Though James said that he didn’t think he was cut out for church work, he knew he would embrace and enjoy what the job at Southwood held. He has quickly become an integral part of our Sunday worship and our staff.
His journey to becoming a full-time musician at Southwood began with a degree from Samford in Classical Guitar. He met Rachel at Samford, and upon finishing school, the Parkers moved to Nashville where Rachel pursued a graduate degree at Vanderbilt in the medical field. She now works in the cardiovascular operating room at Huntsville Hospital as a perfusionist. They recently moved into a new home and when asked what marks this house, they both answered, “Swiffering” because their house has an abundance of hardwood floors. Raking magnolia leaves, yard work and clearing away boxes fills time as well. Working with Southwood’s youth in small groups is another part of the Parkers’ week. James works with 9th grade boys and Rachel enjoys her 10th grade girls. When you spend time with the Parkers, you find their humor infectious and their love of exercise part of the conversation. On off days, James can be found rock climbing on his off days while Rachel teaches aerobics.
Their lives will take a turn in November when they welcome their first child into their family. James’ joy is selecting and executing music which brings the congregation to worship our God, the One who created all things including spiders.