Skip to main content

Join Pastors Wayne and Riley Taylor as they lovingly reminisce and share their memories of Pastor Chuck Smith, affectionately known to many as “Papa Chuck.” God used Pastor Chuck to play an instrumental role in their spiritual journeys. He is remembered as a loving, kind, and wise mentor whom God used to shape many lives.

In this heartfelt dialogue, Wayne and Riley discuss the profound impact of Pastor Chuck’s teachings, his humility, his devotion to serving others, and his unwavering faith. They recall personal anecdotes highlighting his kindness and the spiritual lessons they learned from him. God used Pastor Chuck’s example of service, love, and strong faith to leave a lasting imprint, teaching them to abide in the Bible and to spread hope and love.

Fall Memories Of Pastor Chuck

Written by Cathy Taylor

As the green leaves transformed into jewel-colored flowers, the Pacific Northwest pastors gathered together for our yearly conference. Cooler mornings greeted us, and we all welcomed Pastor Chuck who flew up for his yearly migration. These were the 1980’s, when budding Calvary Chapels were starting to populate the smaller cities and towns around Seattle and the Puget Sound region. These pastors were young and zealous. They were open for every bit of encouragement they could glean and Pastor Chuck was faithful to provide feasts in the Word.

My husband, Wayne Taylor, pastored the first Calvary in the Northwest and sponsored these conferences at Calvary Fellowship Seattle. Which also meant we had the honor of being the hosts for Chuck a few days. We took him waterskiing, arranged tennis matches, took him to the best seafood restaurants, and drove him everywhere. We had him all to ourselves as he left behind all his handlers and responsibilities back in Costa Mesa.

My dad and mom, who were evolutionists and humanists, invited Chuck over for lunch at their beautiful home on the lake. They were world travelers and tennis players like Chuck. There certainly were lively conversations. Chuck carefully drew out their beliefs to their logical conclusions and challenged them so respectfully. Population control was a hot topic even back then and Chuck said, “But Al, which one of these little children would you do away with?” Both my parents went to hear Chuck speak, and little seeds were planted.

Every summer during this time, our family flew to the castle in Austria to meet with all the missionaries and hear Pastor Chuck teach. During our free time in the afternoon, he would join us on the dock to go swimming. My three sons, along with another missionary kid, Sebastien, ganged up on Chuck and pushed him off the dock into the lake! Quite a feat, and he took it all so graciously, after he got his revenge, of course.

We arranged for Chuck to stay with us, a family of six, in a little rambler in the woods one year before the PNW conference. I’m still in shock he didn’t demand a hotel. But Chuck loved kids. He loved interacting with all mine and he loved his family. He talked about each one of them incessantly—when he did talk. I remember seeing his face at the castle in Austria when his daughter Cheryl walked in. His smile lit up his whole face. He always asked about my children: “How was Jordan’s baseball coming along? How is Amy doing in basketball? How is Riley growing as an artist? Does Nick still desire to be a doctor?” Jordan, a young teen at the time, was excited to tell him about a ’68 Ford Mustang convertible he was to inherit at age 16 because he knew Chuck loved to fix up old cars.

One evening around the dinner table in the late 90’s, I asked Chuck if he planned on pastoring until he went to heaven. His reply surprised me. “Actually, I plan on retiring fairly soon.”

“Really? I said, “What would you do with all your spare time?”

“I’d like to spend more time with all my grandkids,” he said thoughtfully.

As we finished up dinner and were all getting ready to drive back to the PNW Pastor’s Conference, Chuck was determined to help clean all my dishes. “Chuck, you don’t have to do that! We can take care of them when we get home later this evening,” Wayne informed him.

“But I don’t want Cathy to have to come home to this pile of dirty dishes.” We were in a hurry to be on time for our meeting, so Wayne drove a bit fast. I was slightly embarrassed with all the weaving in and out of traffic, so I apologized to Chuck for it.

With a big smile on his face, Chuck said, “I love the way you drive, Wayne. I don’t like being held up by all these slow pokes in front of me!” That is one Chuck quote I’ve never heard the end of.

For many years we held our yearly Fall PNW Pastor’s Conference up at Warm Beach, about two hours north of Seattle. Chuck had a friend that owned a plane and flew him up every year, and he then stayed at a hotel in a nearby town. He always had his long sleeve crew neck sweaters on to endure the chilly evenings, and he always made time for me. In 2004, I had just undergone an intense radiation treatment for my reoccurring cancer, and I shared with Chuck what it was like to suffer radiation sickness. He patiently and ever so sweetly heard my woes, offering no trite answers. The gift of listening he offered me assured my heart he would be praying for me. He was always a good friend to me, my children, and my husband.

Fast forward a decade after Chuck entered glory. My son Jordan is now the Executive Pastor at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa and overseeing the castle in Austria. His daughter Vivia was baptized in the Pacific Ocean last week by her parents and Chuck’s grandson Char. My husband has handed over his church to our thirdborn son, Riley. Amy gave up her nursing career to be on staff at her church. My youngest son, Nick, took on the head pastorate at his church in Seattle after Justin Thomas became the president of Calvary Chapel Bible College in Twin Peaks. Both of my parents came to the Lord at the end of their lives. And I finally got my AA in Biblical Theology after listening to the famous Chuck tapes. And Jordan inherited a Mustang rusted through and through, as his aunt kept it in a wet field.

“You see, Chuck, your legacy lives on and continues to bear fruit a hundredfold. But we all miss you terribly.”

Riley Taylor lives in the Pacific Northwest and is the lead pastor at Mountlake Church.

Wayne Taylor is the founding pastor and has been the lead pastor of Calvary Fellowship Seattle for 41 years. Follow Wayne on Twitter @PastorWayTay.

Cathy Taylor lives in Seattle, Washington where her husband, Wayne, planted Calvary Fellowship in 1977. She learned early on the vital importance of studying God's Word.