Rev. David Mercer, 51, senior pastor of Hillside Wesleyan Church in Port Huron, Mich., passed away early Sunday morning, Dec. 9, from a heart attack while in Managua, Nicaragua. The news came from Global Partners’ full-time missionaries Ryan Schmitz and Mike Knox in Nicaragua. Rev. Mercer was in the country on a mission trip with two others from Hillside Church. He would have spoken Sunday morning in the Wesleyan church where the Wesleyan Nicaraguan national leader, Rev. Osman Zamora, pastors.
The family and Hillside church were informed of the unexpected tragedy on Sunday morning by District Superintendent Rev. Richard Meeks, who traveled to Port Huron to meet and pray with them. David and his wife, Renee, have one daughter, Whitley Semrow, and three sons, Ethan, Isaac & Josiah. Isaac and Josiah are living at home as they are still in high school.
Prayer is requested for the family and the church that he has led so well. Prior to his six years at Hillside church, he was senior pastor for 10 years in Deford, Mich. Altogether, Rev. Mercer served 30 years in pastoral ministry in Michigan, Kentucky, Georgia, and Tennessee. He currently served as assistant district superintendent for East Michigan and held numerous leadership posts in The Wesleyan Church and interdenominationally.
All who knew Rev. Mercer are in shock at the loss of this vibrant Wesleyan pastor and leader. General Superintendent Dr. Jo Anne Lyon was distressed at the news and immediately remarked that David was a great pastor as well as a great man of God.
The funeral in Port Huron (Dec. 15) was attended by over 1,000 friends. In the funeral message, district superintendent Richard Meeks remarked that David Mercer was known for saying to his church attenders every Sunday, “Love God. Love others. Prove it!” And he lived that out in his own life.
Assistant pastor Nate Neihof of Hillside church reported that twenty people had found new life in Christ at the church that week, connected to the life and death and witness of Rev. Mercer.
General Superintendent Dr. Jo Anne Lyon delivered the benediction, then led the assembly in singing a victorious rendition of “When we all get to heaven.”
Another funeral service and burial will take place Thursday in Owensboro, Kentucky where Rev. Mercer was a native. Many of Rev. Mercer’s friends across the nation are fellow alumni of his beloved Kentucky Mountain Bible College.