Hispanic Baptist leader Rudy Sanchez dies at age 72

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DALLAS—Rudy Sanchez, a key Hispanic leader in the Baptist General Convention of Texas for decades, died Feb. 7 in Dallas.

Sanchez, 72, was a past chairman of the BGCT’s Executive Board, and was president of the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas two terms. He also was second vice president of the BGCT, a trustee of Baylor University Medical Center, and an eight-year member of the Baptist Standard board of directors.

He began his ministry at Emmanuel Mission in Brady while a student at Howard Payne University. While attending Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, he was pastor of Primera Iglesia Bautista in Fort Worth.

Rudy Sanchez (left) prays during an SBC missionary appointment ceremony in January of 2000, soon after he was elected the first Hispanic chairman of the Executive Board of the Baptist General Convention of Texas. (BP photo by Roy Burroughs)

He also was pastor of First Mexican Baptist Church of Dallas on two occasions, Primera Iglesia Bautista in Corpus Christi and Trinity Church in Houston.

Sanchez also served three years in the ethnic missions division of the BGCT and was moderator of Union Baptist Association.

Albert Reyes, president of Buckner Children & Family Services, recounted Sanchez’s impact on his own life in his blog, Pan Dulce.

“Brother Rudy was my pastor when I answered a call to vocational ministry in 1974,” Reyes wrote. “I walked forward in the service during a revival to respond to an invitation to vocational ministry.

“I felt the Lord moving my heart in that service. Brother Rudy took me under his wing and put me to work, immediately. He affirmed my fragile sense of calling and put me to work taking me at my word and heart. He gave me a responsibility in the children’s ministry, youth ministry and within one year provided an opportunity to preach my first sermon in a public congregational service.

“If you have heard me preach lately, you have heard me recount that experience. About 34 years have passed by and I am still preaching the same gospel. I am one of many of his sons in the ministry to include Frank Palos, Dr. Gus Reyes, Dr. Delfino Aleman, Joe Rojo, Charlie Diaz, Dr. Ellis Orozco, and the list goes on.

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“There are many who will read this blog and will also add their names to the list of those who were formed for vocational ministry under Dr. Sánchez’ leadership or influenced by his life and ministry,” Reyes said.

Sanchez was likewise remembered as a mentor by Baptist Standard Editor Marv Knox on his FaithWorks blog.

“I knew Rudy as a gifted pastor, convention leader and board member. But I reveled in him as a friend and guide.

“He took me under his wing shortly after I moved back home to Texas after living out of state for 17 years. For several of those early years, he always arranged to meet up with me during Convencion, especially during the late-evening fellowship times.

“Rudy always grabbed me by the arm and took me around to meet people. The meeting part was fun. Then came the history lesson, which was terrific. After almost every introduction, Rudy would tell me not only about that person, but also her or his family and ministry,” Knox recalled.

Sanchez is survived by his wife, Ruth; and five children—Rhoda Gonzales, Rebekah Layne, Regem Sanchez, Reuel Sanchez and Herman Splatt; and four grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at Northway Baptist Church in Dallas. The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Feb. 13 at Restland Memorial Chapel in Dallas.


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