Saturday, April 17, 2010

Difficult news related to an important Baptist leader

This morning I recieved the difficult new of Dr. Cecil Sherman's passing. I first met Dr. Cecil Sherman at a meeting at Ridge Road Baptist Church in Raleigh, North Carolina, in 1991. The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship was in its earliest day. I appreciated the hope and the energy he brought to his vision of what this emerging movement might bring to the troubled Baptist landscape. I led our the new church we were planting to join the Fellowship and in 1994 Beth and I joined CBF as missionaries. Cecil Sherman's leadership was a vital part of our willingness to invest our ministry journey in what was still a very young and loosely structured organization.

Cecil Sherman, former Cooperative Baptist Fellowship national coordinator, suffered a massive heart attack April 15, and passed away this morning in Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center in Richmond, Va. An Associated Baptist Press article released yesterday recounts; "Sherman, 82, was the first coordinator of the Fellowship, serving from 1992 through 1996. His pastoral ministry spanned decades, including pastorates at Broadway Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas, and First Baptist Church in Asheville, N.C. Sherman, whose wife of 54 years -- Dorothy "Dot" Sherman -- died in August 2008, was diagnosed with acute leukemia in July 2008. He was the visiting professor of pastoral ministries at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, a CBF partner seminary."(1) At an age when many would have been content to settle into a quiet season of retirement Cecil Sherman stepped forward in leadership. He brought a strong voice and a gentle steady hand of leadership to the shaping of the young CBF movement. He effectively brought congregations together to step beyond the Baptist battle and work together for the sake of the Kingdom. He brought Dr. Keith Parks in as the Global Missions Coordinator and empowered him to lead CBF missions to work with those with little or no access to the gospel. He called churches to remember that it was missions that brought us together and gave us commonality of purpose. He encouraged an young leaders whose season of ministry had been defined by Baptist conflict to find their place in positive congregational ministry. I am thankful for his powerful history of congregational leadership and for his era of shaping a moderate Baptist movement. He will be missed.
Grace and Peace, Tom

For more updates visit

1. Carla Wynn Davis writes for CBF Communications. Bob Allen contributed to the ABP article.

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