The founder of the Calvary Chapel movement, Pastor Chuck Smith, died early Thursday.
Smith, 86, succumbed following a battle with lung cancer.
“Since the battle with this disease began in 2011, Pastor Chuck continued to preach and oversee the administration of Calvary Chapel, serving the Lord until the very end,” Advocates for Faith & Freedom, a Murrieta-based nonprofit legal firm, wrote in an emailed message.
Smith founded Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa in 1965 with 25 members, where “he welcomed pop-music, hippies, casual clothing, and youth of the day with a non-judgmental attitude, revolutionizing conservative Bible-based Christianity,” according to the email.
“He propelled the ‘Jesus People Movement’ in Southern California and launched Maranatha Music in 1971, transforming the way many churches experience worship today. Today there are more than 1,000 Calvary Chapel churches worldwide.”
In the mid-1990s, Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa purchased the former Murrieta Hot Springs Resort in Murrieta as the site for its Calvary Chapel Conference Center and a campus for its Bible College.
The Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa website states that its Sunday, Oct. 6 services—which draw about 25,000 people weekly—will be dedicated to Smith's homecoming, and that a private memorial service will be announced in the coming days.
Smith is survived by his wife Kay, their children and their families, according to Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa's website.
Advocates for Faith & Freedom said they were “blessed to have been supported by Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa over the past few years,” and asked others to “join with us in prayer for the Smith family and the Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa congregation.”