Doctor Rev. Hoke Smith Honored

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By Reanna Huber contributing writer

Members of Calvary Baptist Church and the community honored Rev. Dr. Hoke L. Smith, Jr.’s 28 years of service spent as a pastor at the church. Friends, family and congregations gathered in Merchants Hall Friday night to celebrate this memorable moment with Rev. Hoke. Rev. Hoke was licensed to preach the gospel June 24, 1979. He preached in Louisville, Kentucky and was later ordained in Aug. 1983. He served at Wheat Street Baptist Church in Atlanta prior to joining Calvary Baptist. He heard of the vacancy at Calvary Baptist from friends he worked with, and after two practice sermons with them, he was called in to be pastor in Aug. 1988. From speaking with Rev. Hoke and other members of the community, evidently his years of service have been memorable for all. When asked what his favorite part of being apart of Calvary Baptist was, Rev. Hoke replied with, “the warmth and love of the community and the experience of happiness.”

All of those who gathered for this celebration showed their gratitude for Rev. Hoke and the love from the community was clear. Kathi Russell, owner of Merchants Hall, met Rev. Hoke when she moved to Madison and it was also when she was diagnosed with cancer. She prayed with Rev. Hoke and was later cured of her cancer. “God cured my cancer,” Russell says. “But Smith cured my spirit.” His wife, Ann Smith, also gave thanks to Rev. Hoke and has thoroughly enjoyed seeing him “grow tremendously” over the past 35 years that she has known him. “I’ve enjoyed being by his side,” Smith says. “He is a big love of my life.” She stressed how much he loves this community and how being a pastor here is his passion. It has been an adventure for both of them, but Smith says it has been extraordinary. This gathering was a great celebration for Rev. Hoke and his appreciation for the community was noted. “My most memorable experience here is this celebration today,” Rev. Hoke says. “The community is showing their love.”

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