James Anderson Smith was born Feb. 24, 1929 in Vineland, New Jersey. He married Marilyn on March 30, 1956; they were together for 42 years, until Marilyn suddenly passed in 1998 while working in her garden. The couple had five children: Phillip, Cheryl, Scott, Dirk and Guy.
A few years later, Jim fell in love with Margo. They were married on his birthday, Feb. 24, 2002. It was a wonderful second romance. Margo was a blessing and lovingly cared for her “Jimmy” as his health failed in his last years.
Jim attended King’s College in New York and graduated in 1951. He loved singing and was a member of the college’s male quartet, traveling on behalf of the school to churches around the country. Jim began to prepare for the ministry and in 1953 became part of the New Jersey Presbytery, at the time part of the Bible Presbyterian Synod (BP). Years of turmoil ensued in the church at large, and the presbytery was associated with various denominations.
As a young seminary graduate, Jim was called to serve Faith B. P. Church of Adamston, New Jersey, a small church, and was licensed May 8, 1954, for that purpose. He received his B.D. from Faith Theological Seminary in 1954 and his Th.M. in 1955. The New Jersey Presbytery of the Bible Presbyterian Church (BPC) ordained Jim on May 27, 1955, installing him as pastor of Faith Church. He served there faithfully for 50 years until his retirement in June 2005. During his tenure Jim also worked as a carpenter to supplement his income and support his growing family.
While shepherding Faith Church, Jim was instrumental in the early years of what would become Calvary Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Allenwood, New Jersey. Opened as a tent ministry for the BPC in 1954, the small work struggled for a decade before becoming particularized, in no small part due to Jim’s hard work and encouragement. He nurtured that fledgling work and served as moderator of the session when needed.
In addition to his pastoral responsibilities, Jim was active at the presbytery level throughout his ministry. He served a term as moderator and another as stated clerk under the BPC. He was elected stated clerk of presbytery in 1966 under the RPC,ES. As the presbytery transitioned from BPC to RPC,ES and PCA, Jim faithfully filled that role for 50 years, until his retirement due to ill health in 2015.
When the RPC,ES joined and was received by the PCA in 1982, Jim volunteered to serve as a floor clerk at the General Assembly. He was appointed chairman of the clerks by Dr. Paul Gilchrist, stated clerk, in 1989 and served for 33 consecutive assemblies until June 2014, when he resigned due to failing health.
All who knew Jim were blessed by his energetic and humble spirit. He never complained about his personal hardships or difficulties in ministry. He simply served his Savior in whatever task he was called to, often working quietly behind the scenes seeking no acknowledgement or credit. Jim had to deal with severe hearing loss but he accepted this as from the hand of his loving God. He was a true “churchman” and those who served with him in the local church, presbytery and General Assembly are all richer for the example this humble servant of Christ preached by his daily walk with his Savior.
Jim went to his Savior on November 22, 2021.