Dr. Jerry Cook (July 10, 1938 – January 11, 2014)

Jerry Cook was known as a gifted communicator. As a pastor, teacher, conference speaker and in many leadership positions, he served in Christian ministry for 53 years. He was remarkably successful on anyone’s terms. He led an influential congregation, and captured the world’s attention through his teaching and his writings. But he was as comfortable sitting in a coffee shop sharing stories and scars with just one person as he was on a platform sharing with a multitude. Jerry Cook was quotable, and he was believable. He was compelling and he was clear. He was as relevant at 75 as he was at 25. People of every age group responded to his gentle and perceptive wisdom.

Jerry Cook was born in Lewistown, Montana. His parents (Milton & LaVerne Cook) were pastors who were lovingly committed to their only child. At age 13, Jerry felt God’s special call to the ministry. At age 14, he preached his first sermon from his father’s pulpit. Throughout his youth, he was enthusiastically involved in church ministries, from teaching Sunday School to playing the piano and leading youth groups. In his late teens, he traveled cross country with a musical group, singing and preaching. During a stint in the U.S. Army he was in charge of chapel services and music.

In 1961, Jerry graduated from Seattle Pacific University, gaining a degree in Theology and Biblical Literature. He married Barbara Paulson, also a graduate of SPU. They moved to Pasadena, California to attend Fuller Theological Seminary. In 1965, Jerry earned his graduate degree, then accepted the pastorate of a tiny church in Gresham, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. Very quickly the explosive growth of this church attracted attention. (At that time in Oregon it was unusual for any church to grow in attendance.) In Gresham over 1,000 people squeezed into the small building every Sunday – it was a phenomenon in that region. Many of the number were new believers, many were young; the cultural mix of worshippers was a curiosity to seasoned Christians. Thus, an atmosphere of love, acceptance and forgiveness became foundational to all that Jerry taught and practiced.

East Hill Church continued to grow and expand its outreach nationally and internationally. Jerry and Barbara became parents of two daughters and two sons. In 1985, after nearly 20 years, they moved to the Seattle, Washington area where they continued in ministry for the remainder of Jerry’s life. Serving as Associate Pastor at Eastside Foursquare Church in Bothell, Washington, Jerry found time to write additional books and accept speaking invitations.

During his long career, Dr. Cook was a featured speaker in conventions, pastors’ conferences and churches at North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, encompassing various denominations. His books became available in many languages.

Jerry and Barbara were chosen as the first couple to receive the Medallian Award from Seattle Pacific University in tribute to their accomplishments as a professional team.

In 2006, Jerry and Barbara moved to Whidbey Island, Washington (North of Seattle). An avid fly fisherman, Jerry loved living near the ocean and his favorite lakes. In spite of two battles with colon cancer, he continued to write, speak and travel for more than seven years, strengthened and encouraged by his church and his many friends. In 2014, he died peacefully, surrounded by his family in his home on Whidbey Island.

Published Works

Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness
A Few Things I’ve Learned Since I Knew it All
The Monday Morning Church, Out of the Sanctuary and Into the Streets
The Holy Spirit, So…What’s the Big Deal?
Choosing to Love, The Odyssey of a Relationship
Trusting God When You Have Cancer
Prayers and Promises for My Little Grandchild
Spirit Filled Life Bible, Textual notes and outlines for the books of 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel and Joel

Barbara Cook

Barbara Cook is a popular author, conference speaker and an ordained minister with more than 50 years in the ministry, including 20 years as a youth pastor to young adults.

After graduating summa cum laude, receiving a B.A. in history from Seattle Pacific University, she married Jerry Cook, well-known minister and author of the best-selling book, Love, Acceptance and Forgiveness. They began pastoring East Hill Church, a congregation of 23 near Portland, Oregon. Within a few years, the church numbered in the thousands. It became widely known, influential in its outreach, and is still thriving today.

Barbara has authored four books, Love and Its Counterfeits, How to Raise Good Kids, Ordinary Women, Extraordinary Strength, Choosing to Love, and her daily radio broadcast, A Touch of Beauty, was aired in many regions of the U.S. for nearly 12 years.

As a speaker for leadership conferences, seminars and churches, reaching many varied denominations and groups, she has experienced ministry throughout Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, North America and parts of Asia. In addition, she has appeared on television and radio shows.

Barbara and Jerry were named recipients of Seattle Pacific University’s Medallian Award in tribute to their accomplishments as a professional team.

Barbara lives on Whidbey Island, near Seattle, where her personal interests revolve around her home, four children, four grandchildren and great grandson. She is a classical pianist who performs works of Chopin, Liszt and Rachmaninoff.