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Passing of Pastor Chuck Smith

Memorial/Celebration Service for Pastor Chuck Smith will be held on Sunday, October 27, 2014,  5:00 – 8:00 PM at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA.  


pastor chuck smithPastor Chuck Smith, Senior Pastor of Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, California, went home to be with the Lord early morning October 3, 2013 after complications with cancer.  He was 86 years old.

For those who are unfamiliar with (or too young to know) “Pastor Chuck”, he perhaps had more influence on the spreading of the gospel and the expanding of the Christian church in the mid-sixties, seventies and into the 21st Century than any other individual.   The Calvary Chapel Fellowship of Churches foundation was hippies, surfers, and drug addicts from the beaches of California and the rustic areas of Oregon.  Baptisms took place in the Pacific Ocean, rivers and lakes versus pristine churches.  His non-traditional approach to ministry and his leading countless tens of thousands to the Lord propelled the sub-culture what was known as, “The Jesus Movement.”   There are now over 1,500 Calvary Chapel worldwide with a membership of well over three million as a result of the ministry of Chuck Smith. There are also countless, renowned pastors who have come from the ministry of Calvary Chapel and Chuck Smith.

As a freshman in college in the mid-seventies pursuing a degree in music, I was personally influenced by the Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) genre called “Maranatha” which was birthed at Calvary Chapel by Pastor Smith.  I remember going to one of local Christain Bible and music stores between classes to listen to the LPs (Long Playing Albums) and reading the sheet music of this “different” yet captivating style of religious music.  Many of the worship songs we sing today got their origins from composers and musicians who came out of Calvary Chapel. Artists such as, the late Keith Green, Bob Bennett, Harlan Rogers, Phil Keaggy, Chuck Girard, Twila Paris, and Ron Kenoly are just a drop in the bucket of those who got their start and/or recorded albums on the Maranatha label.

Refusing to be bound by tradition, especially with regards to dress (church clothes), was just one of the hallmarks of this great man of God.  I remember him tell the story of how the deacons and elders of his humble church were beginning to complain about the crowds of hippies and surfers leaving sand and tar from their sandals in the new carpet in the sanctuary.  And, “There is no place for these folks to sit who come in their swim and bathing suits,” they further complained.  The deacons told Pastor Chuck that he needed to “do something about it” before the next Sunday service.  Pastor Chuck agreed and late Saturday evening and had all of the carpet in the sanctuary ripped out,  exposing the cement floor.  When the deacons and elders came in on Sunday and inquired as to what happened, Pastor Chuck told them, “Now, you don’t have to worry about the sand and tar getting into the nice carpet or places for them to sit because they are comfortable sitting on the cement floor listening to the Word of God”.

As this great “fisher of men”, Kingdom Builder, pastoral leader, mentor, author, innovator, and just down-to-earth, “Pastor Chuck,” has now left us, our condolences and prayers for his family, extended family and friends, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, and the Calvary Chapel Association of Churches.