Tim Lai, Vancouver SunPublished: Monday, November 03, 2008
A Christian evangelist who reached thousands of followers with her gravelly voice on Sunday Line broadcasts on radio and television from the early 1970s to 2000 died Saturday morning.
Rev. Bernice Gerard, who in 2000 was named by The Vancouver Sun as the most influential religious figure in B.C. in the 20th century, was 84.
Despite all her evangelical work, Gerard may be most famous for protesting nude sunbathing at Wreck Beach in 1977 when she was a Vancouver city councillor.
In addition to her well-known broadcasts, Gerard was involved in founding some 200 Pentecostal churches and was co-founder of the Pacific Academy, a private Christian school in Surrey. She was involved with many boards across Canada, including that of 100 Huntley Street.
In 2000, Gerard had to end her longtime broadcasts with partner Velma Chapman due to health reasons.
Before they returned to Vancouver to start Sunday Line, Gerard and Chapman spent many years on the road evangelizing throughout North America, Central America and Europe.
"She was a very gracious lady, but very determined because she made up her mind that this is what the lord wanted her to do," said Dolph Hoffman, a close friend and director of Sunday Line & World Ministries.