Bishop Ethel B. Smith was born in Cuthbert, Georgia, on May 28, 1928, to the Late Bill and Ethel Lewis. She was educated in the Terrell County School System. In 1945 she married Frank Smith, Jr. Ten children were born from this holy matrimonial union. They were married for 43 years until his death in 1988. As a child, Bishop Smith was a member of Shiloh Baptist Church in Georgia. In 1963 she became a member of Mt. Zion Church of God Apostolic, in Ashburn Georgia, under the leadership of Bishop W. J. Fitzgerald. It was at Mt Zion Church of God Apostolic that Bishop Smith received the Holy Ghost and was baptized in Jesus’ name. Bishop Smith and her family remained at Mt. Zion until they moved to Dade City, Florida in 1966. In 1966, Bishop Smith started a church in the kitchen of their Dade City home and was assigned assistant pastor to Bishop Fitzgerald. In 1968, Bishop Smith was ordained and installed pastor of St. Luke Church of God Apostolic Faith by The Church of God Apostolic Faith, Inc. Bishop Smith also planted a second church in 1982, St. Luke Church of God Apostolic Faith # 2, in St. Petersburg, FL. After the church was well established, she turned St. Luke #2 over to Elder Dorothy Everett, who was the assistant pastor at St. Luke #2. In 1985, Pastor Smith received her own charter and became Bishop over the churches she started in 1966 and 1982. Bishop Smith was always passionate about her church members expanding the gospel. In 2014, Higher Heights Apostolic Outreach Ministry was established by Elder Eva Davis. Bishop Smith was the bishop over this work. And, in 2018, Elder Annie McKnight received the pastoral mantle of St. Luke Church of God Apostolic Faith that Bishop Smith had given to her in 1998. Bishop Smith exemplified great leadership and had a heart of love for her family, churches, and for anyone who needed her. She was a woman of integrity, wisdom, power, and anointing. She worked tirelessly walking in her destiny and fulfilling the call on her life, including the call to be a mother, wife, business woman, motivator, and a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. She led many to salvation, baptizing them in the name of Jesus and helping them to receive the Holy Spirit; some received the Holy Spirit by the laying on of hands by Bishop Smith, and some received by calling on the name of Jesus at the altar. Bishop Smith also operated in the prophetic: in the gifts of healing, words of wisdom, knowledge, and discerning of spirits. Bishop Smith’s legacy is cherished and honored by her eight children (infants Diane and Janie Smith preceded her in death): Charlie Smith (Lillian), Frank Smith (Fredricka), Annie McKnight (James), Ethel Harris (Granville), Eva Davis, Betty Norman, Glenda Ponder (Donnell), and Sandra Brown (Charlie); 25 grandchildren, 97 great grandchildren, and a host of great-great grandchildren; three sisters: Alice McCray, Martha Barrett, and Daisy Graham (Nathaniel); a host of nieces, nephews, St. Luke and Higher Heights church family, and friends. Five sisters and two brothers preceded her in death: Hattie Mae Ward, Willie Bell Johnson, Edna Mae Lindsey, Alberta Ford, Mary Gaskin, Frank Lewis, and Paul Lewis. Special friend, Bishop Raymond Boyd; grandson, Ahmed Hicks; great-grandchildren, Sharnell Smith and Kenwood Smith, and godson, Rodney Robinson also preceded her in death.
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