By Marjorie Woodfin
Pilot staff writer
Members and friends of the Christian Family Fellowship Church will be celebrating Sunday, Oct. 26, in a special service to install Carl Smith as the new pastor.
Deaconess Pauline Earle said that the church has been searching for a pastor for more than a year. "It is a joyful time for this church," she said.
The church has issued an invitation to the whole community to join the 11 a.m. celebration service and the potluck dinner immediately following. Pastor Smith, who said he studied at Liberty Bible College and "sat under some of the best teachers in the land," was ordained at the Shady Cove Christian Church in the early 1980s.
He said he has pastored churches in Prospect and Willamette Valley and in Washington state and, "this church is one of the most loving bodies I have ever been in." With a grin, he urged, "Come and meet the ugliest preacher in town."
Smith lives in Cave Junction and will continue to commute from his home there. "People say that's a long drive, but it's only takes about an hour-and-a-half," he said.
He explained that he started visiting the Brookings church and found such a "loving, nice bunch of people" that he started attending regularly.
When the interim pastor left, he was asked to take over as interim, which he did. He said he preached his first sermon in the church July 4.
He soon realized the church was seeking a full time pastor.
"I put my application in and they checked me out for a couple of months, as they should," Smith said. "About three weeks ago the congregation voted unanimously for me to become pastor. I think it was God's will all the way."
Earle said, "Pastor Phil Thompson, who was our interim pastor before, will be coming from Forest Grove to do the service."
Smith said that friends from Prospect, who are great musicians, will be coming to provide special music for the service. "They just let us know they wanted to come to the party," he explained.
The church at 15786 Highway 101 was formerly the Emmanuel Baptist Church. The church closed because of lack of participation. A small group of former members, who wanted to continue to serve the neighborhood, decided to reopen as the Christian Family Fellowship. Smith said that when they reformed the church there were about eight in the congregation and that had grown to approximately 40 by the time he started visiting. "We have added six or eight members in the last three or four weeks and there are more and more visitors attending," the pastor said.
He explained that the church is not affiliated with any denomination. It is a Christian Church with complete local autonomy.
"The body itself is the authority, with a very good, loving board of deacons and deaconesses," Smith said. He also mentioned participation in the Angel Shoe Box Ministry outreach.
He said the church believes in the Bible, the Grace of God, and salvation as a gift of God.
"I never preach anything but Jesus Christ, crucified for our sins, and coming back again soon. We have a chance to accept his gift or go to hell. There are no fence sitters for Christ. And we believe in the Love of Jesus."
Talking about the current world situation, he said, "I'm thinking that the world and this country are just getting darker. The financial difficulties we'll get over, but morality is getting darker and darker. There's only one solution and that's Jesus Christ."
Pastor Smith said that he comes from a pioneering Oregon family.
"I was born in Oregon, my parents were born in Oregon, and my grandparents were born in Oregon," Smith said.
He said he has spent most of his life in Oregon, ranching, farming, logging, and with a little construction business in the eastern part of the state.
Pastor Smith is in the church office Wednesdays from noon to about 4 p.m., or later when needed, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. until "whatever" and Sundays. "I'm available any time of the day or night. That's just pastoring," he said, adding that any calls after midnight should be for real emergencies.
Sunday church meetings include Sunday school classes for children and adults at 9:30 a.m., and church at 11 a.m., Wednesday Bible study and prayer service at 6 p.m., and a Bible study on Revelation currently meeting on alternate Fridays at 1 p.m.
Pastor Smith and the congregation reiterated the invitation to the public to come and share their joy and stay for the festive potluck.
"There are a lot of fine cooks in this church," he said. "And we will welcome you with open hearts and arms."