FBC Sylva honors former pastor John Bunn in Sunday service
    July 2 2015 by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor

    The funeral for John Thomas Bunn, 88, went on just like a regular service at First Baptist Church of Sylva.
    The former pastor and town mayor did not want a lot of attention so Pastor Jeff Mathis preached from the floor, leaving the pulpit “empty in honor and in memory of him,” Mathis said during the morning service June 28.
    “We are honoring John’s wishes this morning by not changing the character of our morning worship service.”


    The Sylva Herald file photo by Nick Breedlove
    John Bunn, 88, died June 25 in Sylva. He was former pastor of First Baptist Church of Sylva and served as the Sylva mayor as well as in various community roles.


    Bunn died June 25 in his home.
    Ordained to the gospel ministry on June 4, 1944, at First Baptist Church in Morehead City, Bunn received a bachelor of arts degree from Wake Forest College and a master of divinity and doctorate from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky.
    He was the chairman of the department of religion and philosophy and professor of religious studies at Campbell University (1960-’75) and was president of the General Board of the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (1983-’87) during the height of friction between conservatives and moderates.
    His influence led to First Baptist leaving Tuckaseigee Baptist Association over the decision of Cullowhee Baptist Church to call a woman as co-pastor. First Baptist was joined by Cullowhee, East Sylva, Black Mountain and Deitz Memorial in severing ties with the association.
    Bunn was pastor at many churches including First Baptist Church of Sylva, where he started in 1975 and left for a year, served and became interim pastor and was named pastor emeritus in 1991.
    “All told, I would guess that the number of years of service to be 15, though he was active in the life of our church for 40 years,” Mathis said in an article in The Sylva Herald.
    In 1990, Bunn became Sylva’s mayor for two years.
    He served on numerous community boards and committees. Bunn was one of the founders of United Christian Ministries of Jackson County, where he would like gifts in his memory to be donated.
    “It’s Jesus who truly brings peace,” Mathis said in his concluding sermon remarks. “It’s Jesus who truly brings rest. John knew that. John preached that. John is living that right now.”
    He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Lois Webb Bunn; three sons David, Steve and Raymond Bunn; two granddaughters; and two great-granddaughters.
    Memorials to: United Christian Ministries of Jackson County, P.O. Box 188, Sylva, NC 28779.

    7/2/2015 11:53:28 AM by Dianna L. Cagle, BR Production Editor | with 1 comments
    Filed under: FBC Sylva, John Thomas Bunn, obituary

Ron A. Caulder
Dr. Bunn was my advisor for four years while I was at Campbell (1968-1972). He was a wonderful advisor and friend! He had a great sense of humor and such a warm personality. I appreciate all he did to make my days at Campbell such a memorable experience! Plus, I will remember his death each year since he died on my birthday.
7/3/2015 9:26:01 AM

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