BSC president dies after six-month battle with cancer : Monday, Nov 17, 2003
November 17 2003 by

BSC president dies after six-month battle with cancer : Monday, Nov 17, 2003
Monday, Nov 17, 2003

BSC president dies after six-month battle with cancer

From staff reports

SWANNANOA - Jerry Pereira, president of the Baptist State Convention (BSC) and pastor of First Baptist Church of Swannanoa, died Nov. 7 after a six-month battle with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Sally, and two daughters, Mary and Emily.

Pereira, 50, had served as BSC president since November 2001, and had been pastor at the Swannanoa church since 1985. He previously served as pastor of Central Baptist Church in Spruce Pine and as assistant pastor and minister of youth at First Baptist Church in Valdese.

Raised as a Roman Catholic, Pereira became a Southern Baptist two years after committing his life to Christ in 1974 while serving in the Army. Sally, his wife, is the daughter of T. W. Wilson, a long-time associate of Billy Graham.

Pereira was a frequent speaker at Billy Graham schools of evangelism and described Graham as his mentor.

Pereira graduated from Mars Hill College in 1978 and received his master of divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1981. He served on the search committee that recommended Jim Royston as BSC executive director-treasurer.

A long line of friends and dignitaries paid tribute to Pereira at his funeral on Nov. 13, held at the Swannanoa church. Pereira was praised as a model husband, father, evangelist and pastor - as well as a fan of old western movies, boxing, and Elvis. Several speakers praised his courageous and exemplary fight against the disease that claimed his life.

Jim Wilson, Pereira's brother-in-law, read several letters of condolence, including messages from Billy Graham, Elizabeth Dole, Cliff Barrows, current SBC president Jack Graham, and Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary president Phil Roberts. Longtime pastor friend Russell Vickery also read letters from LifeWay Christian Resources president Jimmy Draper and former professor Jess Moody.

George Beverly Shea sang "The Love of God."

Other speakers included BSC executive director-treasurer Jim Royston and well-known pastors such as Greg Mathis, Charles Page, and Billy Cline. Past and current BSC presidents Bob Foy and David Horton spoke, along with current second vice-president Brian Davis and budget committee member Phil Ginn.

Pereira's daughters and wife concluded the service, each sharing special memories and a favorite verse of scripture.
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