On Wednesday, April 13, the Rev. Dr. K. Eric “Rick” Perrin died in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. He had liver cancer. Perrin pastored churches in Pennsylvania, Maryland, South Carolina, and New Jersey, and he had a great passion for uniting churches around the world.
Perrin grew up in a ministry family, the son of the Rev. Stuart Perrin. He was the fifth generation to follow a call to pastoral ministry. His brother, Dan, is also a PCA pastor.
Perrin earned his M.Div. and Th.M. degrees from Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, and he was originally ordained in the PC(USA). He served as an associate pastor of the historic First Presbyterian Church of Pittsburgh, and along with his brother and father, Perrin became a leader in the PCA in Western Pennsylvania. Perrin joined the PCA in 1975 as a founding member of Ascension Presbytery; that same year he planted Covenant Presbyterian Church in Wexford, Pennsylvania.
During the time of joining and receiving in the 1980s, Perrin was active in the PCA’s Interchurch Relations Committee. Dan Perrin said his brother saw the importance of bolstering communication with Reformed churches around the world.
In the 1990s Perrin helped to found World Fellowship of Reformed Churches, later known as World Reformed Fellowship (WRF). As chairman of WRF, Perrin made regular contact with Reformed churches in Europe, South America, and Africa, and he understood the importance of larger Reformed denominations supporting smaller ones.
According to the WRF website, Perrin’s “quiet demeanor and gentle diplomacy [have] given WRF the steady leadership through the years of rapid growth.”
Perrin’s work with WRF came in addition to this work as a pastor. He pastored Timonium Presbyterian Church in Timonium, Maryland, Cornerstone Presbyterian Church of Irmo, South Carolina, and Covenant Presbyterian Church in Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Perrin served churches continuously from his ordination in 1972 until his medical retirement in 2015. Dan said his brother’s legacy will be one of working to bolster Christ’s church around the world. “He was a visionary in that he was always looking for ways to get people from different churches to build the larger body of Christ. He was concerned about building the Kingdom, not just Reformed churches,” he said.
Perrin is survived by his wife Barbara, three sons, and eight grandchildren.
The memorial service for Perrin will be at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, April 23, at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Lancaster. Before the service there will be a time to greet the Perrin family from 9:30 to 10:30 at the church.