A New Path At One Of NW Georgia's Oldest Churches

Saturday, July 5, 2014 - by Don Foley
Dr. David Hunter and his wife, Carol
Dr. David Hunter and his wife, Carol
One of the most colorful figures behind a North Georgia pulpit comes to Summerville First Baptist this summer with a personality and faith that speaks to more generations than his own.

From his first youth minister job 35 years ago, to his stint as the chaplain for a professional hockey team, to mission trips from Alaska to Bolivia and everything in between, the 55-year-old reverend and his family now call Chattooga County home as he takes over the top spot at one of the area's oldest churches.


Dr. David Hunter, the former pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church (1996-2013) in Macon, is now turning heads at Summerville FBC. The church which opened its doors 165 years ago is now looking to open its doors in some creative ways with the appointment of Hunter to the helm.

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary graduate officially moved into the Summerville FBC minister role this past June. Dr. Hunter, his wife of 32 years, Carol, and his sons, A.J. (21) and Josh (24), have helped the pastor of more than 35 years answer God's calling many times across the Southeast. "At Summerville First Baptist, we are gearing up to truly serve as a community of believers who love and support one another while caring for those in need."

One of the first moves Dr. Hunter has in place is hosting a showing of the recent Christian big screen hit, "God's Not Dead" in Summerville FBC's Family Life Center on July 20. "This will be a family-oriented, God-honoring movie event which is free to everyone in our community," said Hunter. "We want the church to be more than just the place that holds church on Sunday mornings. It's a center for everyone and anyone's life."

Dr. Hunter's first position in faith came in 1979 as the Minister of Youth at First Baptist Church in Jemsion, Ala.. In his work over five different decades, the father of two has held two youth minister positions, as well as four pastorships across the Peach State.

Like any church, Summerville FBC has lofty goals of growth in the coming years. With the resume Hunter brings to the Chattooga sanctuary, they appear to have snagged the best man for the job. In his 28 years as a head pastor, he has led six successful building projects. The latest of which was a $4.5 million complex construction to serve as the new sanctuary for Tabernacle Baptist.

A focus on building community outreach, campus expansion, and growth of Sunday School programs have been at the heart of Dr. Hunter's plan to lead people to Christ in previous positions. Partnerships with community and civic organizations in his previous service areas led to visible growth in his previous churches.

During his 18 years with the Macon-based church, Dr. Hunter found interesting ways to serve on the side. Besides leading numerous mission trips to Alaska, Bolivia, Honduras, and beyond, Hunter also served as the official man of the cloth for the Macon Whoopee, a former professional minor league ice hockey team from 1998-2002.

The average on-looker will see Dr.  Hunter's resume and quickly pick out some not-so-ordinary factoids on the avid biker and hiker. A big fan of anything on two wheels, Hunter can be seen on top of his motorcycle or bicycle to help him stretch his legs across our region.

But when he really wants to hit the dusty trail, Hunter puts his feet to the ground and takes on sections of the Appalachian Trail; covering more than 750 miles of the trail in his years of hiking. "I like the outdoors," said Hunter. "Some of my favorite places that have me lacing up my hiking boots are the Cohutta wilderness, Shining Rock in North Carolina, Mount Mitchell, and the Pisgah and Chattahoochee National Forests."

Whether he is making his way down the highways of the Tennessee Valley or gritting his way down some of the more challenging hikes the region has to offer, Dr. Hunter definitely has a course in mind. One he hopes will build up Summerville First Baptist Church to a place that, "our neighbors will not only call this a place of worship, but also a place they can truly call home."

For more information on Summerville First Baptist Church, contact the church's main office at (706) 857-1215. Summerville FBC is located on Georgia Avenue in Downtown Summerville.
If you don't see Summerville First Baptist's new minister Dr. David Hunter behind the pulpit of the Chattooga County church, it is very likely you'll catch him roaring down Georgia's highways on his motorcycle in his free time
If you don't see Summerville First Baptist's new minister Dr. David Hunter behind the pulpit of the Chattooga County church, it is very likely you'll catch him roaring down Georgia's highways on his motorcycle in his free time

Union Hill Missionary Baptist Honors Pastor Samuel R. Jackson

Union Hill Missionary Baptist Church has been blessed by God with its shepherd, Pastor Samuel R. Jackson and organizers are preparing to honor him for his faithful service and guidance to this flock for 11 years.  In addition, he and his bride of 30 years, First Lady Vivian Evans Jackson will renew their wedding vows. The Union Hill Church family cordially invites each ... (click for more)

Steve Ellison: Memorial Day Remembrances

The Civil War, our bloodiest w ar, gave birth to holidays honoring those who gave there all for their country. In 1868, the United States set aside May 30 th  to remember their great sacrifice. Since 1971, in classic American seeking of self, we have chosen to take a three day weekend by choosing to take a day off from work on the last Monday in May.  Oh, the real Memorial ... (click for more)

Strong Thunderstorm Causes Damage, Power Outages In Dalton

Shortly before  5 p.m. , a strong thunderstorm went through downtown Dalton, knocking down numerous trees, causing power outages and also causing damage. At this time, no injuries have been reported.  The Dalton Fire Department and Dalton Police Department responded to multiple reports of damage. The DPD closed several roads due to downed trees and power lines. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Honors Military Veterans

A Memorial Day service was held at the National Cemetery on Monday. (click for more)

Calling Out Bad Behavior In St. Elmo

I have lived in the St. Elmo community of Chattanooga for practicially all 52 years of my life. My grandmother moved to St. Elmo in 1919. My Dad was literally born in a home in St. Elmo and lived his entire 72 years in this community and my Mom has lived here 60 years of her life. I am very disappointed in what my neighborhood has become. I like people. ... (click for more)

Don't Squander The 2016 Election Opportunity

This is what I don't understand. Christians refusing to vote for anyone who is not squeaky clean and who doesn't live up to our standards. I'm not bashing Christians. I proudly proclaim Jesus as Lord and Savior.  But If we made our voice known more we could have a lot greater influence than we have. And I don't mean just boycotting. I specifically mean the last two ... (click for more)