Jerry Pereira joins race for BSC presidency
October 15 2001 by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor

Jerry Pereira joins race for BSC presidency | Monday, Oct. 15, 2001

Monday, Oct. 15, 2001

Jerry Pereira joins race for BSC presidency

By Jimmy Allen BR Assistant Editor Another conservative candidate is seeking the presidency of the Baptist State Convention (BSC). Jerry Pereira, pastor of First Baptist Church of Swannanoa, announced his candidacy Oct. 12, five days after Charles Page told his congregation that he was withdrawing his candidacy because of a recurrence of cancer.

"I personally did not seek to run," Pereira said.

"I had fully anticipated going to the convention and voting for Dr. Charles Page. He's a dear friend. Our hearts beat the same."

Pereira said he was asked to run by the same people who had originally asked Page to run. After being asked to consider, Pereira said he prayed about the decision and got support from his wife, Sally Ann; his children and the deacons at First Church, Swannanoa.

Page's candidacy was announced in April at a meeting sponsored by Conservative Carolina Baptists (CCB). In June, a layman and former N.C. Baptist Men president, Raymond Earp of Calvary Baptist Church, Beaufort, announced he would run. Both Earp and Page were endorsed by Mainstream Baptists of North Carolina, a group that promotes what they describe as traditional Baptist values.

Pereira said he hopes to be endorsed by both CCB and Mainstream Baptists.

"I want to be president of all North Carolina Baptists if the Lord so leads in that direction."

Although he considers himself a conservative, Pereira said he disagrees with statements made at a CCB meeting in Fayetteville on Sept. 20. At the meeting, Clarence Johnson talked about a conservative takeover of the BSC.

"I do not identify with those remarks in any, any way," Pereira said. "The only takeover I want is the Lord Jesus Christ in a daily way. That's not my spirit, brother. I'm a conservative. I'm an evangelist. ... I'm a builder. I'm not a divider."

Pereira said he considers himself "very much in tune with Jim Royston," the BSC executive director-treasurer, and that he likes South Carolina Baptists' program of empowering kingdom growth, which he said brings all S.C. Baptists together and focuses on the positives of that state's Convention.

The candidate also said he supports the four giving plans available to churches in the BSC. He called the differences of the plans non-essentials. "I want to keep the main thing the main thing. ... I believe in the local autonomy of the church."

When asked if he would support the appointment of people from churches that ordain women or don't support the Southern Baptist Convention, Pereira said he would be president of all N.C. Baptists. "I will seek to bring balance of appointments. Would I nix someone because they're from a CBF (Cooperative Baptist Fellowship) church? No, I would not. That's their local church autonomy. I would seek to bring balance, fairness."

Pereira said he learned a lot about the workings of the BSC when he served on the search committee that recommended Royston as executive director/treasurer. He has also served on the Committee on Committees, which recommends appointments to the nominations committee and several other committees.

Pereira was raised as a Roman Catholic and became a Southern Baptist two years after committing his life to Christ in 1974 while serving in the Army. He graduated from Mars Hill College in 1978 and received his master of divinity degree from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1981. While in seminary he served as assistant pastor and minister of youth at First Baptist Church, Valdese. He then served as pastor of Central Baptist Church in Spruce Pine until 1985 when he was called as pastor of First Church, Swannanoa.

Pereira is a frequent speaker at Billy Graham schools of evangelism. "My heart's passion is to encourage pastors, and help build churches in North Carolina and focus on missions," he said.

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10/15/2001 12:00:00 AM by Jimmy Allen , BR Assistant Editor | with 0 comments
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