By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service
SOUTH BEND, INDIANA (ANS – Dec. 10, 2015) — Longtime broadcaster Peter Andrew Sumrall, who led one of the largest Christian networks in the nation, has passed away.
Sumrall, who was the President and Chief Executive Officer of LeSEA Broadcasting (http://lesea.com), based in South Bend, Indiana, died Saturday, December 5, of a heart attack. He was 62.
According to a story released by National Religious Broadcasters, despite Sumrall’s unexpected death, which came as a shock to millions of viewers and Christian organizations around the world, LeSEA announced that his mission to promote the salvation message of Jesus through the many outreaches of LeSEA will continue.
“We all loved my father,” said Sumrall’s son Drew. “It goes without saying that Pete Sumrall cannot be replaced, just as his father before him, Dr. Lester Sumrall, could not be replaced. We will move forward with the vision of the company.”
Peter Sumrall came to faith in Christ at a young age, and he quickly demonstrated his commitment to sharing the salvation message of Jesus by becoming a missionary to foreign countries. But it was his love for broadcasting that gave him an even greater platform to reach hurting people worldwide.
After traveling as a missionary for several years, Sumrall became a full-time employee with LeSEA Broadcasting in 1973 – 16 years after his father founded the ministry as the Lester Sumrall Evangelistic Association. He worked his way up the ranks in the company in multiple roles, including production, engineering, sales, traffic, and tours. In 1982, he was promoted to General Manager of the network, which at the time consisted of two television stations and one FM radio station.
In 1996, Sumrall became President of LeSEA when his father passed away. Learning every aspect of the company under the tutelage of his father would equip Sumrall to assume full leadership of LeSEA Ministries and LeSEA Global Feed the Hungry in 2005.
“Thanks to Sumrall’s business savvy, LeSEA Broadcasting has grown exponentially in the last 30 years,” said NRB. “The Harvest Show, on which he served as a Co-Host, is seen in more than 42 million homes in the United States, in 77 million homes in the Middle East, and through an estimated 1 billion shortwave radio receivers worldwide. Leveraging its technology with a passion to spread the Gospel, the multi-faceted ministries of LeSEA today reach more than 90 percent of the world’s population with the existence of TV, radio, and satellite assets.”
Funeral services for Sumrall will be held Monday, December 14, 2015, at Christian Center Church in South Bend, IN. The viewing will begin at noon, followed by the funeral at 3 p.m. All are welcome to attend his funeral and celebrate his life.
Sumrall is survived by four adult children and two brothers.
Note: I once had the privilege of being interviewed by Dr. Lester Sumrall at LeSEA Broadcasting about my work with the persecuted church and was able later tour their studios in South Bend.
Photo caption: 1) Peter Sumrall. 2) Dr. Lester Sumrall interviewing Billy Graham. 3) Dan Wooding with Mark Ellis and Pamela Christian after a recording of their TV show, “Windows on the World”, at the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network in Orange, California. (Pamela was the previous host.)
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 74, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the author of some 45 books and has two TV programs and one radio show in Southern California.
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