Kay Smith Returns Home


Calvary Chapel’s First Pastor’s Wife, Kay Smith, Passes Away

Story by Christmas Beeler
Photos taken from Issue 58 of Calvary Chapel Magazine

Kay Smith, 94, beloved wife of Calvary Chapel founder Pastor Chuck Smith, passed away on Friday, August 13, 2021. Pastor Chuck often noted Kay’s important role in reaching the drug-addicted, disenfranchised young people in Southern California: “Kay was the first to reach out to the hippies of the ‘60s. Her prayers and her tears laid the foundation for our church, Calvary Chapel,” he wrote in the introduction to Kay’s book, Pleasing God. Pastor Chuck became an integral part of the Jesus movement, baptizing young converts along the Pacific Coast. Over the decades, Calvary Chapel grew to an international movement, with more than 1,500 churches all around the globe. Pastor Chuck departed before her on October 3, 2013, at age 86.

People working together

On one of their many trips to Israel, Chuck and his wife Kay marvel as they did on their first venture there.

Kay often spoke about joy. “Sometimes in our deepest trials, God will so minister to us that we can have joy,” Kay said in a 2009 interview. “We have joy just because we have Jesus. We sing ‘Joy to the World’ because Jesus was born, yet sometimes we act as though He were never born. Our salvation, our future—all of this is because of Him. It’s so easy to be discontent, but when we choose joy, what a difference it makes in our own lives and those around us. Joy is one of the greatest gifts God has given us.”

In that vein, Kay started and led the Joyful Life women’s ministry for years, impacting thousands of women and their families all over the world. Here is a link to some of her audio teachings from the Word for Today website.

Kids working

Chuck and Kay Smith on their honeymoon in 1947.

In her book, Pleasing God, Kay wrote about the brevity of life: “I think it’s good to remind yourself of this truth. But lately, God has been impressing on my heart the verse … Lord, make me to know mine end, and what is the measure of my days, that I may know how frail I am (Psalm 39:4). … In other words, this verse is asking, ‘Lord, make me to know what time I have.’ … Nothing will last—except our eternal souls. Only the work that we’ve done for Him … [S]ince our time here is short, what does God want me to do … with the time I have left? Put it another way, if Jesus came for His church right now, what would you want to be doing? Would you want to be praying? Witnessing?”

She cited 2 Peter 3:11-12a, which says, Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God? She wrote, “From reading that passage … it seems clear to me that we are to be diligent, pure, and holy. We’re to live in such a way to please the heart of God.”

People working together

Chuck and Kay look out over the Promised Land on a trip to Israel.

All verses above are quoted from the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

© 2021 Calvary Chapel Magazine. All rights reserved. Articles or photographs may not be reproduced without the written permission of CCM. All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the New King James Version. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.® Used by permission.