Buckner Fanning, American Southern Baptist pastor, Died at 89


Buckner R. Fanning was born in 1926 and died on February 14, 2016.

He was a Southern Baptist megachurch pastor in San Antonio, Texas, and an ecumenical leader

He was frequently held joint services with Jewish rabbis and Roman Catholic priests.

Since 1970 to the 1990s, Buckner appeared in television commercials, filmed in locations about San Antonio, to promote his Christian beliefs of love and tolerance for others.

Buckner Fanning finally graduated in 1949 from Baptist-affiliated Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and in 1952 from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth.

After spending most of the 1950s as a traveling evangelist, he became the pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in San Antonio, in 1959.

He was often connected with interfaith services with the Catholic archbishop, Patrick Flores of San Antonio.

Buckner has hosted the World Council of Churches’ Congress on Missions and Evangelism, in 1989.

At the time of his retirement in 2002, the church had gained ten thousand members.

Following his leave from the pastorate position, Pastor Fanning continued to work as an evangelist in guest preaching assignments and founded the Buckner Fanning Christian School on the North Side of San Antonio.

The same institution is now known as the School at Mission Springs.

Mr. Fanning’s evangelistic enthusiasm was demonstrated in a 1950s crusade in Augusta, Georgia, which drew sixty thousand persons.

Buckner was frequently compared to his friend Billy Graham, whose San Antonio crusades he helped organize in 1968 and 1997.

The Newsweek magazine even compared Fanning to Graham, in 1957.

Following John Paul II visited San Antonio in 1987, Buckner Fanning held an interfaith service at Trinity Baptist Church to pray for the success of the pope on his mission.

He was active in annual celebrations honoring the civil rights activist, Martin Luther King, Jr.

Despite him not becoming particularly involved in partisan politics, which he considered outside the realm of the church, Fanning urged his congregation to vote.

Buckner was a critic of the Southern Baptist Convention conservative resurgence, which began at the national convention in 1979 in Fanning’s hometown of Houston.

During his preaching and television spots, Mr.Fanning cautioned Christians to avoid judgmentalism.

Some who declare faith spend their time and energy, he said, on judging others and fail to make sufficient effort to care for and love their fellow man.

He died on Valentine’s Day, 2016, a few months after sustaining a debilitating stroke.

He residing at an assisted living facility, before his death.

He left behind his wife, Martha Ann Fannin (born 1929), a musician and vocalist; three children, Michael and Harriet Fanning, Steve and Cecily Fanning, and George Edward and Lisa Fanning Pilgrim, and five grandchildren.

However, Michael Buckner “Mike” Fanning (born 1956) was the pastor of the Fellowship of San Antonio at 23755 Canyon Golf Road, where his father sometimes preached after retirement from Trinity Baptist Church.

Buckner Fanning passed away at 89 yrs old.