I was deeply moved to hear the news on Monday whilst on a ministry trip to Sri Lanka that our dear brother and fellow CRC pastor for many years, Keith Smith, had been called to take up residence in his heavenly mansion.
Keith was a valued friend and ministry colleague to me and many of our CRC pastors over the years and remained very closely connected to some of our Sydney-based Pastors after his retirement from church leadership and active ministry in recent years.
When I first met Keith & Patti they were pastoring the CRC church at Fairfield in Sydney, NSW and were very committed attendees at our State and National conferences and events. As a new younger Pastor, attending these gatherings I always found Keith and his wife Patti a welcoming and safe couple to touch base and spend time with as I got to know the wider group.
Keith served as the State Chairman of our growing NSW/ACT/QLD CRC family of pastors and churches for a few years, and his relaxed pastoral style of leadership facilitated an enjoyable season in our history that has set the tone for what has become a positive, enjoyable and very relational culture in our State as part of the wider CRC Churches International Movement.
Keith and Patti ended their church leadership at Parramatta in Sydney where they were known for their compassion and practical help supporting a number of homeless men and women in the area. I had the privilege of joining them with a group of youth from our church one Sunday and then participating in their program providing a meal and loving on this significant group of people.
Keith always had a gentleness and incredible warmth about him that added a dimension to any personal encounter, meeting or conference I ever experienced or attended with him over the years.
After his retirement from church leadership, Keith & Patti moved out to our regional area for a season. It was nice to have them in the neighbourhood for a short period.
On behalf of all our CRC Pastors & leaders across NSW, ACT & QLD we extend heartfelt condolences and our earnest love and support to Keith’s wife Patti & all their wider family.
Pastor Trevor Murphy
CRC Churches International NSW/ACT/QLD