Church members attend vigil for St. Louis pastor who lost the battle with COVID-19

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ST. LOUIS – During the monthly St. Louis Metropolitan Clergy Coalition meeting held virtually, leaders remembered one of 12 bishops who have died of COVID-19 complications this year.

Later Thursday night, there was vigil allowing for social distancing where members continued to honor the former police detective and pastor of New Beginning Missionary Baptist Church.

There were songs, memories, and emotions. Scriptures of inspiration were replaced with a powerful memorial eulogy for Reverend Carl Smith Sr.

Several people took to the microphone to speak on how the pastor poured into the lives of so many people.

“This man did not live by bread alone. I stop by to just encourage us today that we too, like Brother Carl live like what our faith says to us,” said coalition Vice President Chuck Norris.

Faith leaders described Rev. Smith as a visionary who was not afraid to live. He had a distinctive voice, was well-respected, well-dressed, and did not fade in his faith.

“I will state that this has been a shock and a blow to the community and the coalition, specifically. This is one of the best and greatest gentlemen that you could ever meet,” said Bishop Hankerson III, the president of the coalition.

Rev. Smith died from complications of COVID-19 on April 9. Thursday night, church members filled the parking lot. Some sat in their cars, and others standing at a distance.

A retired city investigator, Rev. Smith went from protecting and serving the city of St. Louis to protecting and serving the souls of his congregation.

Clergy coalition members say they developed a bond and friendship with a leader who is “no longer heaven bound, but heaven found.”

“Well done…well done my good and my faithful servant. Let the church say amen,” said Hankerson as he wrapped up the virtual eulogy.

During that virtual dedication, St. Louis Chief of Police John Hayden spoke to Rev. Smith’s contribution while on the force from 1979 to 2001.

“Detective Carl Smith was an exemplary police officer and investigator extraordinaire,” Hayden said.

“He was a teacher when it came to investigations. He was a mentor when it came to encouraging as he led many peers by example to be the best that our profession has to offer.”

The coalition is also asking for prayers for Rev. Smith’s wife, Lady Geraldine Smith, who is also battling COVID-19.

Anyone who wishes to send condolences may do so using

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