Former CBF moderator Forrester dies after 14-year cancer battle


January 4, 2016

By Carrie McGuffin

During her time as CBF moderator, Forrester led during the CBF General Assembly alongside President Jimmy Carter.

Donna Forrester served as CBF moderator from 2000-2001, and was the first ordained woman to serve in this position. Forrester (pictured above) embraces former President Jimmy Carter at the 2001 CBF General Assembly. 

DECATUR, Ga. — Cooperative Baptist Fellowship leader and former CBF Moderator Donna Forrester died December 31 at the age of 66 after a 14-year battle with brain cancer. Forrester served as moderator in 2000-2001 and was the first ordained woman to hold the position.

As the child of a pastor, the South Carolina native was a graduate of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ky. (Master of Divinity) and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, N.C. (Doctor of Ministry). Forrester served as Minister of Pastoral Care and Counseling at First Baptist Church in Greenville, S.C. from August 1989 to November 2006. She served as a member of the CBF Coordinating Council from 1996-2002.

After her retirement in 2006, Forrester and her husband, Jerry Kerns, became members of First Baptist Church of Clemson, S.C., where she continued to use her gifts in ministry. Forrester’s battle with cancer brought her through two surgeries, more than 60 radiation treatments and 39 MRIs after an initial prognosis of 18-24 months.

CBF Executive Coordinator Suzii Paynter expressed her admiration for Forrester as she lived and flourished in ministry despite enormous challenges.

“We thank God for Donna’s life and for the impact of her ministry,” Paynter said. “Even as she was beginning her courageous battle, Donna provided important leadership for CBF at an important time in our history as we celebrated 10 years together as a Fellowship.”


CBF is a Christian Network that helps people put their faith to practice through ministry eff­orts, global missions and a broad community of support.The Fellowship’s mission is to serve Christians and churches as they discover and fulfill their God-given mission.


4 thoughts on “Former CBF moderator Forrester dies after 14-year cancer battle

  1. Prayers for her family. I was blessed to know Donna when she served as the chaplain at SEBTS while I was there from 1985-88. I am a better person and Christ-follower because of her.

  2. Saddened by the death of Donna. She was an inspiration to me while I was employed at Southeastern in the early years, 1978-1988. Prayers to you Jerry.

  3. Donna was an inspiration and a joy! I had the privilege to be part of her DMin group as a student @ SEBTS in 1980. Her life blessed and helped shape my ministry. I am grateful for her journey and saddened to know of her death. Peace and grace to all who mourn this day.

  4. Donna helped me transition back into the student mode after quitting a FT job and entering SEBTS. Her smile was contagious and her friendship endearing. May the peace of Christ, which she so compassionately shared, be with Jerry and family.

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