To help financially during this time of great need, please forward your offering to Tom's sister:
Darla Wexttsen, 16738 N. Tolle Lane, Mount Vernon, IL 62864
checks may be made payable to "Grace Community Church"

There is also a deposit account set up at US Bank to help defray Deb's uncovered medical expenses.
Visit any US Bank branch office to make a deposit in cash or by check for "Deborah A. Smith Memorial Fund".
Please be sure to mention Charity Paddock or Nellie Haverkos to be sure the gift is properly deposited.

If you use this link to join, then go shopping there, as much as 26% of your purchases will help the family.

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Monday, October 22, 2007

How good and pleasant it is...

On Sunday, October 21, 2007, Deb Smith was remembered and honored in a joyful and deeply personal Celebration of the Resurrection, at New Hope Community Church, originally the home of Fellowship Christian Church, which Tom and Deb Smith pastored for many years. One of the sweetest moments, and most moving for many, was at the very end, when Randy Moody sang The Kingdom. The Celebration continued at Vineyard Community Church where at least 125-150 friends joined Tom and the Smith family for a meal and time of rich fellowship.

Praise be to God Who Loves us!

The following reflection on this profoundly gentle, Spirit-filled gathering of perhaps 250-300 Lovers of Deb Smith appeared this morning on Brave Heart, a blog hosted by Gary Sweeten, a long time friend and the coordinator of yesterday's Celebration:

It is difficult to know where to make this post. It is all about the joyfully poignant service we had this afternoon for Deb Smith. It was a real family reunion, not unlike many weddings and funerals, because these rituals provide valuable time for old but busy friends to get together. The hyper speed of life passes much too quickly so time is needed to remember the good times after too many years of love from a distance.

We met at the old FCC Church building on the west side of Cincinnati ... now ... a congregation called, appropriately, "New Hope"... It was a matured version of the hippies we had loved so well and so fleetingly back in the sixties and seventies. Fewer beards and many more gray hairs in the ones that were there.

But a lot of people turned out to honor Deb and Tom Smith for their love, care and evangelistic fervor that brought many of them to a faith that still thrives among daunting marriages and rearing kids as well as fighting off various diseases and moving through the Mid Life Crises that seem to appear out of no where.

I wish I had taken a camera. I would love to show you all the photos of some of the most beautiful people I ever knew. But my task of the day, Master of Ceremonies and enforcer of the time constraints, would have prevented me from taking any pictures, but I still like to think about having pictures to remind me of our old friends.

We celebrated the short life of Deb Smith, a woman admired by all and sought for counsel by any who knew her. Tom was "The Official Pastor" of the Christian Student Fellowship but Deb, the very young Deb, provided so much love and concern for all those lonely students who came to U.C. for an education that they remembered her for decades for her listening, wisdom and acceptance.
During the celebration, George Lueking shared warmly about Deb's concern for others, even while she was very ill, once apologizing that she could spend only 20 minutes one weekend with friends who had traveled from Cincinnati just to see her. John Morelock fought back tears of sorrow and great joy recounting Deb's unique and creative life and well-known sense of humor.

Barb Hine also shared the following remembrance of Deb, which struck home for anyone who knew her:

When you met Deb, you may have thought of fine china as I did. Her fine features, fair skin, the beautiful things she created. But with Deb it wasn’t the china you fell in love with – it was the rock beneath. She was solid in her faith, strong in her friendships and unfailing in her love for her family.

It was said that Tom & Deb were co-pastors of two churches and yes they were…but Deb’s role was so different in the two. As I recall – she once said “I don’t want to be a “normal” pastor’s wife”. So with Deb’s creative flair she stayed on the side lines with Bible studies in her home, fancy lunches to bless us girls – on her fine china – and things I’m sure we were not even aware of. It came as such a surprise to hear Deb’s call to worship at Grace Community Church as many of us had not seen that part of her. What a joy to see Deb in that role. God is so good at showing us His path, in His timing.

I have had the honor, in the past few months to spend some precious time with Deb’s girls. In Nellie I was able to see Deb’s strength and in Charity, Deb’s love for family and in her grandchildren Deb’s incredible smile & laughter.

I thank God for the wonderful, memorable moments I was given with Deb Smith and her family.

From Philippians 4:8
And finally brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think on these things…and the God of peace be with you.

If you have a reflection on this Celebration or the Celebration that took place in Mt Vernon, IL, on Saturday, October 20, 2007, please share it here as a comment.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My Mom: A brief biography from Charity Ann Smith

My mom was born in Cincinnati and lived here until she was 41, when she and my dad moved back to the farm where he had grown up in southern Illinois.

Born and raised in Cincinnati, she graduated from Princeton High School. She attended Cincinnati Bible College, then took time off to raise two daughters and a son. As her daughter, I can say that she always gave the gift of her time and the gift of her self. She was a person who enjoyed "being," not simply doing.

All her life, my mom created art. She worked with paint, clay, fabrics, stained glass, pastels and all types of found objects.

Later in life, she took the role of a nontraditional student and graduated Magna Cum Laude from Miami University-Oxford with a degree in Fine Arts. She then earned a Master of Fine Arts from Eastern Illinois University. After this, she taught painting, art appreciation, drawing and sculpture at Frontier Community College in Fairfield, Illinois. She was also a sought-after Judge of fine art for several Illinois art shows and competitions. My dad said that at art shows, she "always found something good about each contestant." He also called her a "woman of accomplishment."

My mom was wholly devoted to her faith. She and my dad co-pastored for 35 years at both Fellowship Christian Church in Monfort Heights and Grace Community Church in Mt. Vernon, Illinois. She brought her artistic gifts to serve people in and out of the church her whole life.

As a team, my parents also operated Smith Family Farms, where they raised and sold beef cattle. My mom was active in all areas of the farm, from bottle-feeding orphaned calves to feeding the team of farmers to even naming some of the cows.

She was a woman who was loved by so many people in her short time on Earth.


Other online stories about Deb include:
Mt Vernon Register-News
Cincinnati Enquirer

Freesias and Orchids and Bagpipes, Oh My!

During the past few weeks, as Deb's family lovingly discussed her wishes, Nellie shared that,

"With her ever present sense of humor, she also outlined that under no circumstances does she want bagpipes and she would really like lots of flowers."

(her favorites are freesia and orchids)

Loving Deb Smith in the Breaking of Bread in Cincinnati

Blessed Dear Ones!

Following the Celebration of the Resurrection for Deb Smith in Cincinnati on Sunday, October 21, 2007 (Details on the Celebration of the Resurrection) there will be a meal and fellowship for friends and family. All are welcome.

Here are the details:

Breaking Bread in Celebration of the Resurrection

Spaghetti dinner, with garlic bread and salad
(Prepared by brothers and sisters from the Vineyard Community Church)

Vineyard Community Church (Atrium)
11340 Century Circle E.
Cincinnati, OH 45246

October 21, 2007 from 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Please consider preparing a refrigeration free dessert to share

-- something that works on a napkin, like cookies, brownies, lemon squares, cupcakes, etc.

Suggested donation: $7.50 per person to help cover the cost of the dinner food.

Luke 24
It was very early in the morning on the first day of the week. The women took the spices they had prepared. Then they went to the tomb.

They found the stone rolled away from it. When they entered the tomb, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. They were wondering about this.

Suddenly two men in clothes as bright as lightning stood beside them. The women were terrified. They bowed down with their faces to the ground. Then the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? Jesus is not here! He has risen! Remember how he told you he would rise. It was while he was still with you in Galilee. He said, 'The Son of Man must be handed over to sinful people. He must be nailed to a cross. On the third day he will rise from the dead.' "

Then the women remembered Jesus' words.

They came back from the tomb. They told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them were the ones who told the apostles. But the apostles did not believe the women. Their words didn't make any sense to them.

But Peter got up and ran to the tomb. He bent over and saw the strips of linen lying by themselves. Then he went away, wondering what had happened.

That same day two of Jesus' followers were going to a village called Emmaus. It was about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked about those things, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them. But God kept them from recognizing him.

Jesus asked them, "What are you talking about as you walk along?"

They stood still, and their faces were sad. One of them was named Cleopas. He said to Jesus, "You must be a visitor to Jerusalem. If you lived there, you would know the things that have happened there in the last few days."

"What things?" Jesus asked.

"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet. He was powerful in what he said and did in the eyes of God and all of the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed Jesus over to be sentenced to death. They nailed him to a cross. But we had hoped that he was the one who was going to set Israel free. Also, it is the third day since all this happened.

"Some of our women amazed us too. Early this morning they went to the tomb. But they didn't find his body. So they came and told us what they had seen. They saw angels, who said Jesus was alive. Then some of our friends went to the tomb. They saw it was empty, just as the women had said. They didn't see Jesus' body there."

Jesus said to them, "How foolish you are! How long it takes you to believe all that the prophets said! Didn't the Christ have to suffer these things and then receive his glory?"

Jesus explained to them what was said about himself in all the Scriptures. He began with Moses and all the Prophets.

The two men approached the village where they were going. Jesus acted as if he were going farther. But they tried hard to keep him from leaving. They said, "Stay with us. It is nearly evening. The day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.

He joined them at the table. Then he took bread and gave thanks. He broke it and began to give it to them. Their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. But then he disappeared from their sight.

They said to each other, "He talked with us on the road. He opened the Scriptures to us. Weren't our hearts burning inside us during that time?"

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them. They were all gathered together. They were saying, "It's true! The Lord has risen! He has appeared to Simon!"

Then the two of them told what had happened to them on the way. They told how they had recognized Jesus when he broke the bread.

(Thank you to Elizabeth Patten for the photographs in this post)

Updated details regarding Celebration for Deb in Mt Vernon, IL

Mindy McWilliams, Administrative Assistant at Grace Community Church provided the following update regarding the Celebration of the Resurrection for Deb at GCC.

Dear Grace Family & Friends,

We wanted to let you know of these updates in the Mt. Vernon area Services for Pastor Deb Smith.
Visitation will be Saturday October the 20th from 10 am until 11 am at Grace Community Church. The memorial service, officiated by Pastor Monty Weatherall and Pastor Lynn Laughlin, will follow at 11 am.

Immediately after the service the family will have a private meal.


"And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Details on the Celebrations of the Resurrection!

There will be two Memorial Services for Deb Smith this coming weekend. The family has provided the following details:

Saturday, October 20, 2007
Grace Community Church

14769 N Highway 37
Mt Vernon, IL 62864

Visitation @ 10:00 AM (at Grace Community Church)
Celebration @ 11:00 AM

Sunday, October 21, 2007
New Hope Community Church

3707 Edgewood Dr
Cincinnati, OH 45211
618) 242-2303

Visitation @ 2:00 PM (at the New Hope Community Church)
Celebration @ 3:00 PM

Please keep the entire Smith family in your prayers.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

A love note from Tom - October 12, 2007

Dear friends in Christ,

Today my dear wife Deb went to be with Christ Jesus and the saints who have gone before us. Her healing is now complete. God's sovereign purposes are also complete. I often quoted Wimber in dealing with the tough times on Earth, "Earth aint heaven." But today I am finding comfort in being able to say "yes, but heaven is heaven." And Deb is healed, Deb is soaking in the beauty, Deb is singing with one of the awesome praise teams, Deb is telling the angels about her awesome five grandkids.

Our hearts ache. This big old farmhouse is silent but her legacy has just begun.

I do not have the words to tell all of you in the lovingdebsmith congregation what comfort we received from reading your blog entries. Our computer room is on the second floor in our home so I would have to print things out as Deb couldn't do stairs. Then Darla began bringing her laptop out and letting Deb see your letters with her own eyes. Yesterday the Holy Spirit prepared Deb for her homegoing by Darla playing a CD that brother Drew Grounds, worship leader at Central Christian Church, had made for Deb. But in the middle of it, Darla stopped and played Deb's 7 Calls To Worship, which magician Michael Cristiani reproduced on the blog. Deb could not speak the past three days. She made sounds that we tried to interpret but during one of the praise songs, she was able to sing along, by saying, "hallelu, hallelu." The hospice nurse could tell something was moving in the room and asked Deb, "What are you seeing?" Deb said, "angels." The nurse asked, "have they come for you?" She said, "not yet." At the end of that day, the nurses told us they believed she would go to be with the Lord in 24-48 hours.

At 3 am, Jordan and I decided to move her onto a pillow wedge in her bed to help relieve the coughing. In her broken language, she began to speak to Jordan and Jordan began to speak to his mother amidst the tears. He kissed and spoke of his love for his mother and began to pray for his mother. The Holy Spirit used this moment mightily for all three of us. I then gave Deb another round of meds in her IV port and then laid down with her and rubbed her head, arm and shoulders and she talked to me for quite a while also. Then she became silent but was still breathing and at about 4, I said, "If I'm going to work tomorrow, I've got to go to the couch to get a couple hours of sleep." For the past four months, I would be awakened by Deb's strange, unusual sounds. Today, the house was silent. I ran to her bed and her spirit was gone to be with Jesus.

We are sad but we are grateful because as Paul told the young church, "we are not like people of the world who die without hope."

We are going to honor Deb and her Savior in two Memorial Services, Lord willing. Next Saturday, October 20 at Grace Community Church in Mt. Vernon, Illinois at 11am and Sunday, October 21st at 3pm at New Hope Community Church , originally known by most of us at Fellowship Christian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio.

I cannot close this love note to all of you without saying thank you for your generous gifts which have enabled us to combat the financial challenges of cancer medical care. You have kept our heads afloat, financially. We are still not out of the woods, in that our insurance company has not paid the first dollar because they are still looking in Deb's medical history to find a preexisting condition. They have renegotiated some of the prices with the hospitals and testing agencies. But they are still refusing to pay real money for the outstanding bills. Again, thank you.

Let me close by saying that Deb loved teaching art at a small college--Frontier Community College. Our family is establishing a "Deb Smith Memorial Fine Arts Scholarship" in her honor and to continue her ministry of helping discover students gifted to "do art." Deb's greatest joy was discovering the kids whom God had wired up to paint, do sculpture, do architecture. The administration originally told her they had to have a Fine Arts teacher to meet Humanities requirements for the State but not to expect any one to be very serious about Art and certainly no one to go on and major in Art at a 4-year University. She and her students surprised them as she has sent, the last time we counted, nine students on to major universities in Fine Arts, Graphic Arts, Art Education and Architecture. If you want to contribute to this scholarship fund, simply make your check out to "Frontier Community College" with Deb Smith on the Memo line and mail to our home address at 10517 North Panzier Lane, Ashley, IL 62808. Thank you.

Deb and I would read the blog and we would remember you and relive stories of our young life in Christ together. And our faith would be renewed in the midst of the most vicious battle of our lives. Surely friendship in Christ is eternal. God bless you all. Tom Smith.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Home! What Joy and Sorrow!

Dear Ones,

Our sister, Deborah Ann Smith, is home with Jesus, from early this morning, October, 12, 2007. Tom and Jordan were with Deb at the time. Here is a message from Charity:

Dear friends,

It is with immeasurable sadness that we write. Our mom passed away early this morning. She passed in her sleep. Please keep us in your prayers as we plan for the future.

All our thanks, the Smith family."

Please bring Tom and the whole Smith family before the Throne of Grace.

Please watch Loving Deb Smith for details on memorials, etc., as they become available.

Hebrews 12:22-24a

But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly,
to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the judge of all men, to the spirits of righteous ones made perfect, to Jesus ...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

My strength and my courage is the LORD (Update on Deb for Monday, October 8, 2007)

Dear Ones,

Tonight, Charity has provided the following update, knowing how much the Lovers of Deb Smith are lifting Deb and the whole family up to God in prayer and thanksgiving:

First, I haven't had to make a meal in about two weeks, thanks to the meals from friends. What a gift!

Nellie, Zach and I returned home from Ashley later last week. We spent several days at our mom's bedside, and were relieved to see her temperature go down.

She is still sleeping most of the day and night. She is getting great care from family and her nurses. Her situation still remains critical.

As of last Thursday, her main hospice nurse said that her life expectancy, based on the symptoms she sees, is a few days or a week.



God, indeed is my savior;
I am confident and unafraid.
My strength and my courage is the LORD,
and he has been my savior.

(Isaiah 12:2)

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

We have gathered at our parents' home ...

Charity has provided the following update, this evening:

I'm writing from my parents' house. Nellie, Zach and I came over late last night.

To all friends who are reading today's entry, our family sends out a thank you and a genuine appreciation for all the manifestations of love you have shown us.

We have gathered at our parents' home because the hospice nurses say that our mom's situation has become extremely critical. They are concerned that she does not have much time left because she has had a 103 degree fever, low blood pressure and terminal dehydration. She sleeps 20 hours a day. The nurses have recommended that we all be here with her now.

Please pray for us as we spend this time with our mom.... And as we attempt to plan for the future. She has expressed that she wants to be buried in Cincinnati, so we anticipate a great reunion with all our friends at a memorial service there, in addition to a memorial service in Mt. Vernon. We will blog about plans as we learn what they are.

With love, Charity

Monday, October 1, 2007

I have a scripture for you from Isaiah 35...

Here, again, is a most hopeful and compassionate Call to Worship from our dear sister. Thank you, Deb. You are a holy servant of God, Who embraces you on the highway of your journey of Faith. He fills you with every Grace and Blessing!

Call to Worship 5
"We're going to be talking about heaven today. And I have a scripture for you from Isaiah, and it kind of gives a description of heaven. It's from Isaiah 35.
And a highway shall be there, ...,
and it shall be called the Holy Way.
The unclean shall not pass over it,
And fools shall not err therein.
No lion shall be there,
nor shall any ravenous beast come upon it;
they shall not be found there.
But the redeemed shall walk there,
and the ransomed of the LORD shall return,
and come to Zion with singing,
with everlasting joy upon their heads.
They shall obtain joy and gladness,
and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.
(Isaiah 35:8-10)
Let's pray.

Thank You LORD. Thank you for this promise of heaven. We have that hope.
We all have lots of folks we're going to see when we get there; that we miss. Because they are not here anymore, and we now they are waiting. And we know that they get to see You, and they get to be with You, and someday we will too.

But right now we are happy for the rain and we are happy for the sunshine, and we are just going to make a decision, make a choice, to be joyful.

We love you, Jesus, and now we are going to come and try to give you praise, sacrifice of praise. Some of it will be happy and boisterous, and some of it will be quiet and introspective. But all of it is done for You, Lord Jesus.

We love You.

Revelation 21
1 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more.
And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, "Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away."

5 And he who was seated on the throne said, "Behold, I am making all things new." Also he said, "Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true."
6 And he said to me, "It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life without payment.
7 The one who conquers will have this heritage, and I will be his God and he will be my son.


9 Then came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues and spoke to me, saying, "Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb."
And he carried me away in the Spirit toa great, high mountain, and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God,
11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.


22 And I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb.
23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.
By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it,
and its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there.
26 They will bring into it the glory and the honor of the nations.
But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

How lovely is Your Dwelling Place, O LORD of hosts!

1 How lovely is Your dwelling place,
O LORD of hosts!

2 My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the LORD;
my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God.

3 Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at Your altars,
O LORD of hosts,
my King and my God.

4 Blessed are those who dwell in Your house,
ever singing your praise!


(Psalm 84:1-4 (ESV)