Bernice Gerard was the most well known religious personality in my province in the 20th century. I watched her on television for years. She is the only TV evangelist that I have watched for more than five minutes. But I can't share that experience with you. Here is a small excerpt from her obituary. She was a social conservative who brought deep respect and recognition to Christianity.
- Gerard became a teacher in the public school system, ending up in the interior mining town of Rossland. There, she met two Pentecostal evangelist sisters, Velma (later Chapman) and Jean McCall. They took the young woman under their wings. Velma was the pianist; Jean, the preacher; and Bernice played a big fiddle, nicknamed ‘Junior.’
Eventually, when Jean McCall married and moved to the United States, Gerard took over the preaching duties. Chapman was the behind-the-scenes organizer.
They toured in both eastern and western Canada, using a big white tent dubbed the Cloud Cathedral. In the process, Gerard was ordained to the Pentecostal ministry.
Many of the visits of the Gerard-Chapman Team to Canadian and American cities resulted in the planting – directly or indirectly – of some 200 new churches. Read the rest here.
Here is an excerpt from the notes on one of his sermons. Fee really does speak with passion and a burning heart.
- 1. I come to the task of teaching in a place like this as a man
with a single passion:
> to see the Word of God ministered in our world
and in the church with power
> to see lives changed,
the church built up,
and encouraged to do its proper task in the world
> and to see that done prophetically:
“Thus saith the Lord”
2. How can this happen?
a. Have the touch of God on your life –
> I don’t care what you call it, or how you get it,
— but have it
You must know the fullness of the Spirit, whatever else
– and a life of prayer
– a life of obedience
> Your teachers cannot do this for you
(thus must constantly be doing it for themselves,
and thus modeling something for you)
> The great danger here:
– to become “professional” in the bad sense
to analyze texts
to talk to others about God
– but no longer have a burning heart,
never (no longer) let them speak to you,
call you to repentance, praise, worship
to bow the knee before the living God
> And there is only one way to cure that when it happens
— to get apart for awhile, alone with God,
and let him overwhelm you again
with his love and mercy
— and then to do the next thing —
reprioritize your life,
I think there are a wealth of role models, if a pastor is seeking to have an egalitarian ministry.