The Rev. Dr. Perry Sanders, pastor of First Baptist Church in Lafayette for nearly five decades, has died. According to a release from the downtown church, Sanders passed away at 3 a.m. Central Time Monday in Colorado Springs, Colo.
A native of South Carolina who came to Louisiana to attend New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Sanders served tenures at the pulpits of Baptist churches in Baton Rouge and Jennings before coming to Lafayette where he shepherded a congregation that grew from 1,200 members to nearly 5,000 by the time he retired in 2006. Sanders also led his flock through the tribulation of fire — literally — after the church was gutted by a blaze in 1999. The front columns and steeple survived the fire and were incorporated into a state-of-the-art sanctuary completed as part of a major expansion of the church properties completed in 2004.
Rev. Sanders was also an active member of Lafayette’s civic life, serving as a member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Kiwanis Club, the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and the United Givers Fund. He was also a founding board member of the Acadiana Arts Council, now known as the Acadiana Center for the Arts.
Sanders was 84 years old.
The memorials ervice for Dr. Sanders will be held Wednesday, March 28 at First Baptist Church, 1100 Lee Ave. in downtown Lafayette. Visitation will begin at 8 a.m. and the service is scheduled for noon. Delhomme Funeral Homes is in charge of arrangements.
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