Bernice Gerard was a forerunner and visionary. She successfully engaged and shaped her city as she allowed God to use her many gifts and abilities. She was a bridge-builder who was willing to engage those who disagreed while at the same time holding true to her own values and beliefs. As you'll see in the article below, in addition to planting a church in Vancouver, she was also a broadcaster, radio host, city councillor, University Chaplain, voice of conscience and a general catalyst. She made her life count for someone more than just herself. She made a mark on her generation and the ones that follow because of her willingness to be a servant of her Lord and Saviour.
I'm attaching the story of her passing from today's Vancouver Province.
From the Vancouver Province
Katie Mercer, The ProvincePublished: Monday, November 03, 2008
Bernice Gerard, ground-breaking broadcast evangelist, former alderman and pioneer of university ministries, has died. She was 84.
"She was a strong voice for moral decency and challenged the city in new ways," said pastor Greg Laing of Point Grey Community Church.
"She just had so much going on. She was just tireless, full of passion, full of righteousness and full of love of God."
Gerard, who was adopted by a native family before becoming a ward of the province, spent her early years travelling throughout Canada, the United States, Europe and Central America, evangelizing with Velma Chapman and Jean McColl.
She settled in B.C., and pioneered the University Christian Ministries by becoming the first chaplain at the University of B.C. and one of the first at Simon Fraser University.
She was a Vancouver councillor from 1977 to 1980, and most notably staged the 1977 march against nudity on Wreck Beach.
The pentecostal preacher took her passion to the airwaves, hosting the Christian talk-show Encounter from 1971 to 1988. Gerard also co-hosted Sunday Line with ministry colleague Chapman, from 1971 to 2000.
Before being forced into retirement because of Parkinson's, Gerard hosted the daily talk show KARI, in Blaine, Wash. Laing said Gerard was a legendary, inspiring and humble leader.
"Her legacy is the countless lives she has touched," said Laing. "She had the vision, she had the passion and she just did it."
Gerard, who had been in hospital for years, died on Saturday.