April 24, 2000

Buckner Fanning to change roles
___SAN ANTONIO--Buckner Fanning, one of Texas Baptists' best-known preachers and evangelists, has announced plans to step down from the pastorate of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, where he has served 40 years.
___Fanning, 73, set no specific departure date, saying he'll keep working until the church names a new pastor. He and his family plan to remain as members of the church, he said, explaining he doesn't intend to "retire" from ministry.
___Upon hearing of Fanning's announcement, other religious leaders in San Antonio expressed praise for the Baptist's witness and ecumenical spirit. The San Antonio Express-News quoted Catholic, Jewish and Protestant leaders who commended Fanning's influence in the city.
___Fanning first gained notice as a youth evangelist in the 1940s while a student at Baylor University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in 1949. After graduating from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1957, he was featured on the cover of Newsweek magazine as the nation's newest Billy Graham-style evangelist.
___Even after becoming pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in 1959, Fanning continued his evangelistic preaching both at home and abroad. In 1975, he returned to Nagasaki, Japan--where as a Marine he had been part of U.S. occupying forces after World War II--to lead a revival at the request of the city's mayor and religious leaders.
___At home, Fanning became a pioneer among Baptists in effectively using broadcast media as an outreach tool. He developed a series of inspirational TV spots that have garnered international attention.
___He also became a leader of ecumenical and interfaith cooperation in Texas.
___Fanning twice has helped organize and host Billy Graham crusades in San Antonio, in 1968 and 1997.
___After stepping down from the pastorate, Fanning plans to spend more time preaching, writing and developing projects at Mission Springs, a church complex that includes a Christian school, aerobics center, children's hospice and ecumenical conference center.

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