North Jefferson News, Gardendale, AL

January 10, 2013

Update: Gardendale church pastor, family involved in shooting incident

By Robert Carter and Melanie Patterson
North Jefferson News

GARDENDALE — Authorities have not yet officially released the names of the suspect or the victims, but The North Jefferson News has independently confirmed through community and church sources that the Rev. Dr. Terry Greer, pastor of Gardendale-Mt. Vernon United Methodist Church, is one of three people who were involved in a shooting and stabbing incident at a home in North Gardendale on Thursday afternoon.

The church also sent an email Thursday evening to members about “the tragedy involving Pastor Terry Greer and his family.”

Greer has been the senior pastor of the church since last June, when he and Rev. Dr. Rudy Guess exchanged congregations. Greer transferred from First United Methodist in Decatur.

Gardendale Police were called to a house on Country Meadow Drive, a cul-de-sac in a subdivision located behind Jack’s Restaurant at the Mt. Olive Rd. interchange with Interstate 65. Multiple sources have confirmed that the house is the church parsonage.

In a press conference at the scene, Police Chief Mike Walker said that three people were involved: a male, who was critically injured from stab wounds; and two females, both of whom suffered gunshot wounds and one of whom was injured critically.

Greer is married to the former Lisa Eidson of Scottsboro. Their daughter, Suzanna Faith, is a college student at the University of South Alabama. Suzanna graduated from Decatur High School in 2012.

Lisa Greer is a Birmingham-Southern graduate with a degree in elementary education, according to the Gardendale-Mt. Vernon website. In 2009, she retired from a 27-year career in public education.

Since October, Terry Greer has not been seen in the pulpit regularly due to health problems, according to church members.

Former Gardendale mayor Kenny Clemons, a member of the church and of the Gardendale Area Rotary Club, which Greer also attended, said that Greer was originally injured in October while suffering from heart problems. Greer was driving himself to St. Vincent’s Hospital, Clemons said, when he passed out and hit a guard rail.

“He stayed in St. Vincent’s for a week. It messed up his knee,” Clemons said.

Greer came home to recuperate, but was injured again when he fell off the deck at the parsonage. Since that time, Greer has only attended the church once and had to use a walker, Clemons said.

Greer is originally from Elizabethton, Tenn. He served in the U.S. Army for nine years, according to the church website.

He was appointed by the North Alabama Conference as senior pastor in Decatur in 2004.

Gardendale-Mt. Vernon has a membership of more than 700 people, and the preschool has about 360 children enrolled.

In the email sent to church members, the conference told Gardendale-Mt. Vernon members that a counselor would be available at the church from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. for those in need.

The church is suffering from other blows dealt recently. On Dec. 28, worship leader Joel Kent Hodges was arrested on charges of electronic solicitation of a child and traveling to meet a child for an unlawful sex act.

Danielle Cater contributed to this report.