January 4, 2016
By Carrie McGuffin
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.