By Matt Duvall
The past spring, the McAfee School of Theology lost one of her founding pastors and supporters when the Rev. Dr. W. Ches Smith III passed away. Ches dedicated much of his tenure as a pastor to the vital task of educating ministers. Dr. Smith was on the board of Trustees for Mercer University at the time that the theology school was formed, and had the distinction of being the one who made the motion to create the school.
This weekend, a group of new and experienced pastors, associate pastors, retired ministers, supporters, and friends will gather together on Saint Simons Island for the Mercer Preaching Consultation—an annual continuing education gathering rooted in a gathering that began in 1986 with D. F. Norman. This weekend, we will gather together around the most important task of growing and learning as ministers and church leaders. This weekend will be the first Mercer Preaching Consultation since Ches died. We will miss our good friend. We celebrate our memories of Ches and so many of our beloved pastors and mentors who helped us understand how to be better pastors and preachers, and we are glad to share with you Ches Smith's presentation from last year's consultation along with some thoughts from his grandson, the Rev. Dr. John Milton “Tripp” Martin, III.