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.

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