Montrose church plans events to help pastor with mounting cancer expenses

William Woody—Pastor Kim Bearden of Rosemont Baptist Church has been battling cancer without the benefit of health insurance. Bearden is photographed in the worship center of Rosemont Baptist Church Wednesday Oct. 13, 2010.

MONTROSE — Cancer is an overwhelming burden by itself. Fighting it without insurance might seem hopeless.

That’s what Rosemont Baptist Church pastor Kim Bearden is facing, but the 56-year-old has kept a positive spirit.

His congregation is responding by raising money to offset the costs of his ongoing cancer treatment, but the bills keep coming.

As a result, Rosemont Baptist Church, 1598 E. Niagara Road, and Grace Community Church, 16731 Woodgate Road, are presenting a free concert by Dennis Jernigan in hopes of raising money for Bearden.

Jernigan, a worship artist, songwriter and author, will perform at 6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 21, at Grace Community Church.

Jernigan has written hundreds of contemporary Christian songs, with many listed in the top 100 on the Church Copyright Licensing charts for the most performed songs in churches. He has released 21 full-length CDs, multiple songbooks and folios. He has written five books, including “Daily Devotions for Kingdom Seekers.” His latest CD is titled, “Here in Your Presence, live from San Antonio.”

“I didn’t know about (the concert),” Bearden said. “It’s something God put together.”

Bearden was diagnosed with colon cancer five years ago, shortly after losing insurance because of a clerical error while serving as a pastor in Oklahoma, he said. It wasn’t discovered until after his diagnosis.

“I’ve had multiple surgeries, and it’s not gone away,” Bearden said. “It keeps reappearing.

“I’ve never looked down. People have done everything they can to help me. They want me to stay a preacher here.”

Bearden said he developed another condition, multiple melanoma, which grows tumors, benign and malignant, and was told it is incurable. Because of the rare disease, he has to go to Oklahoma City four times a year for treatment. His treatments cost roughly $25,000 each time, he said.

Bearden said he has 12 tumors in his chest and legs, and he had his intestines and part of his liver removed. He has lost some eyesight as well.

“I didn’t think I was going to make it, but I’ve kept a positive spirit,” Bearden said. “I try not to let my people suffer. I try to stay positive when I don’t feel good.”

Donna LaChapelle, a church member, said it was evident he was not feeling well before his last surgery, but he has remained “very positive, upbeat and delightful” through it all.

“He seems to be doing really well,” church elder Wes Hartman said. “In fact, I’d say better than most people in the same circumstances.

“He’s always been very positive in his attitude. His concern is more about the church and the people. You almost have to pry it out of him on how he’s doing sometimes.”

Bearden won’t make excuses or place blame. He continues to preach to his congregation. The only times he misses Sunday services at Rosemont Baptist are when he goes to Oklahoma for treatment.

“We’re going to beat it,” Bearden said. “We’ve stayed on top of it, and I’ve never stopped ministering. It’s an opportunity for me to understand what people are going through that are sick. It’s made me a lot more compassionate.”


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