Having already waved good bye to his family that stood by his side, on Saturday afternoon July, 14, 2012, Pastor James E. Smith entered into his rest.
Pastor James E. Smith, affectionately known by many as Lil Shine and Smitty was born to the late Apostle James A. and Sarah Lee Smith on February 12, 1936. When Pastor James E. Smith was a child, his name was placed on the role of the United House of Prayer by his parents. As a member of the House of Prayer, he was a diligent worker. He created a choir whose ability, devotion, and sound became known across the country. He also established the first shout band. Music was in his blood and he transferred this to his family. With five children he started a family singing group named “The Smith Family.” The family was also blessed to have traveled and sung at many churches up and down the east coast. He also sung, played guitar, and traveled for many years with The Virginia Soul Stirrers. These men were not only friends but brothers. One of his most notable songs was; I Don’t Know What Makes the Rain Drops Fall! The Lord also blessed him in another way. He had a profound love for studying the word of God. Through his study of the scriptures he came to know Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior. He was an avid student and teacher of the word of God. In 1989 he received a call to preach the gospel and to pastor Baptist Rock Baptist Church. He was ordained and installed as pastor by Reverend J. B. Williams of Weeping Mary Baptist Church of Chesapeake, VA. He faithfully served as pastor until his death.
Pastor James E. Smith was a loving man. Because of that loving and accepting nature, he often found himself, as he called it, adopting! He adopted, mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers and children. His love went beyond the walls of church, friends, and family. In fact, WAVY TV 10 called him the Forgiving Pastor. Pastor James E. Smith met and fell in love with his princess, Armelia Sears. They were united in holy matrimony on August 5, 1955. From this union they were blessed with four sons and one daughter: Pastor Keith L. Smith (Susan Smith) of Elizabeth City, NC; Cheryl Hassell (Pastor John M. Hassell) of Chesapeake, VA; Elder Gerard A. Smith (Rochelle Smith) of Chesapeake, VA; Deac. Maurice A. Smith (Patricia Smith) of Chesapeake, VA; and Pastor Kerry A. Smith (Deitre Smith) of Chesapeake, VA. Ten grandchildren, one great-grandchild and seven step sisters the late Geraldine Hill and the late Cloria Rayner; Emma Sivels, Della Cowell, Ida Benson, Alberta Phillips, and Brenda Bugs; six step brothers; Elder Joshua Smith Jr., Robert Smith, Dec. George Smith, Joey Smith, Dec. Stephen Smith and a host of relatives and friends.
A celebration of life service will be held 11:00 a.m. Saturday at New Galilee Baptist Church, 1013 Great Bridge Blvd, Chesapeake. Interment will follow at Baptist Rock Baptist Church Cemetery, 3233 Lake Drummond Cswy Chesapeake. Viewing will be held Friday from 3-7pm at Pretlow and Sons Funeral Home, Chesapeake.