Henry served as senior pastor of Monroeville Presbyterian Church in Monroeville, Alabama from 1957-1963. From 1963-1966 he pastored First Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church of Rock Hill, South Carolina. It was there that he met Anna Beth Lynn of Rock Hill, whom he married in 1964. They were married for nearly 50 years before Anna Beth passed away in 2014.
Henry Lewis Smith — PCA historian, seminary professor, pastor, disciple-maker, and the longest-serving presbytery clerk in the denomination – has died. He was 88.
Henry died on February 5 at his home in Opelika, Alabama. He served as stated clerk of Southeast Alabama Presbytery from 1985 until retiring from the position in October 2020.
During his 68 years of gospel ministry, Henry discipled countless young men by inviting them to join him in the Lord’s work and teaching them along the way. Many of those men eventually became pastors themselves. He also trained men as a professor at Birmingham Theological Seminary in Birmingham, Alabama.
Born in Chinquapin, North Carolina, on June 9, 1932, to the Rev. William and Carrie (Lewis) Smith, Henry earned his Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in 1956 and was ordained the same year.
He served as senior pastor of Monroeville Presbyterian Church in Monroeville, Alabama from 1957-1963. From 1963-1966 he pastored First Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church of Rock Hill, South Carolina. It was there that he met Anna Beth Lynn of Rock Hill, whom he married in 1964. They were married for nearly 50 years before Anna Beth passed away in 2014. They had four children: Henry Lewis (Hank), Jr., Sara Lynn, Timothy Jefferies, and Anna Elizabeth (Lisbeth).
In 1966 Henry took a call to serve as pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church (ARP) in Winter Haven, Florida. Jim Smith (no relation to Henry) recalls how as a teenager and brand new Christian, he witnessed Christian life and ministry firsthand from Henry.
When Henry needed to make pastoral calls to hospitals or homes, he invited Jim to accompany him. In his zeal to serve, Henry sometimes overlooked details that others might consider important. Once he asked Jim to ride with him to a hospital visit, and it was only after they had left Winter Haven that Henry mentioned the hospital they were visiting was over two hours away in Gainesville.
What Jim didn’t realize during his long car rides and pastoral visits was that Henry had been praying for him for years. As a sixth grader, Jim had served as a crossing guard at an intersection Henry frequented. Henry observed how the young crossing guard did his job responsibly and began praying for his future.
Years later Henry offered a challenge to Jim by asking Jim to prayerfully consider whether the Lord might be calling him to pastoral ministry. Jim always appreciated that Henry saw the call to ministry as responding to the Lord’s call, not taking Henry’s advice. It was always about serving the Lord.
Jim did sense a call to ministry, and after graduating from Reformed Theological Seminary Jackson, in 1984 he served churches in Mississippi, Florida, and Pennsylvania. He is currently the director of programs at the Center for Community Resources, and pastor for congregational care at St. John’s Reformed Church in Butler, Pennsylvania.