By BosNewsLife News Center
TORONTO, CANADA (BosNewsLife)– Glenn Penner, who became a key voice for persecuted Christians as leader of advocacy group The Voice of the Martyrs Canada (VOMC) has died after losing his battle with cancer, officials said. He was 48.
Penner, “went home to be with the Lord on the evening of January 26, 2010,” VOMC told BosNewsLife in a statement. It came after he stepped down this month as the group’s chief executive officer, citing health concerns.
Penner joined VOMC in 1997 and played an important role in reviving the group’s activities, his friends said.
As “a gifted teacher” and writer, he investigated and revealed persecution cases around the world. “Glenn was blessed to be able to share his study with Christian leaders in religiously restricted and hostile nations in South America, Africa and Asia, as well as in seminaries and colleges in Europe and North America,” VOMC stressed.
He also launched several video projects and newsletters providing information about persecution of Christians to both VOMC supporters and international media.
“Especially his regular thoughtful written news briefs on the Internet formed a key part of our news agenda,” noted Stefan J. Bos, founder and chief international correspondent of online news agency BosNewsLife. “They have shown important persecution trends, reminding us to stay alert.”
Penner also had a “particular passion for helping suffering believers to understand the Biblical basis for their trials” as revealed in his book ‘In the Shadow of the Cross’, VOMC explained. His book continues to be “an invaluable resource to Christians worldwide who are suffering for Christ’s sake,” and an intensive study on the theology of persecution and discipleship, VOMC added.
“Looking back to August 1997 when we interviewed Glenn for the position of development director for The Voice of the Martyrs, I marvel at God’s goodness and timing to send Glenn our way,” said Klaas Brobbel, who was the group’s missions director at the time.
“The mission was floundering and we needed help. Little could we have known the great work that Glenn would be able to pack into the nearly twelve-and-a-half years of service to the Persecuted Church.”
Yet, Penner’s work was complicated because of his own suffering: Barely five years after joining VOMC he was diagnosed with Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia. “After undergoing chemotherapy, radiation treatment and a stem cell transplant, Glenn, his wife Denita, and their family decided not to pursue further treatment when the cancer returned,” VOMC said.
However, “With confidence in God’s provision, Glenn bravely continued to serve the Persecuted Church and strove to utilize the time God gave him to its fullest potential.”
Friends and family of Glenn Penner gathered for a funeral service at the City Centre Baptist Church in Mississauga, Ontario Friday, January 29. A memorial service was planned for next Saturday, February 6 at 1:00 p.m. local time at the Zion Evangelical Missionary Church in Didsbury, Alberta, according to organizers.
VOMC spokesperson Greg Musselman, who knew Penner well, pledged that his group would continue to carry on the Christian leader’s legacy “as we serve the Persecuted Church.” (Follow BosNewsLife via Twitter ).