U.S. Missions honored its retiring executive director Thursday night. Zollie L. Smith Jr. is leaving office after a decade overseeing the seven departments of Chi Alpha Campus Ministries U.S.A., Chaplaincy Ministries, Intercultural Ministries, Missionary Church Planters & Developers, Teen Challenge International U.S.A., U.S. Mission America Placement Service, and Youth Alive.
Last week, U.S. Missions announced the establishment of the Zollie L. Smith Jr. Scholarship Fund, which is underwritten for the next 20 years.
The scholarship will be awarded to two children of U.S. Missions appointed missionaries or chaplains annually. Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, one male and one female will each receive $1,000 toward tuition of the college or university of their choice.
“I’ve been honored to work with you and serve with you,” Smith said in a farewell chapel sermon to National Leadership and Resource Center employees Aug. 1.
"What a joy it's been to work alongside Zollie,” AG General Superintendent George O. Wood said at the service. “He’s been such a blessing to us all.”
The General Council voted to make Smith an honorary general presbyter Wednesday afternoon, noting his 20 years of service as a general presbyter and his 14 years of service on the Executive Presbytery. He served as president of the AG’s National Black Fellowship for 10 years, spent four years as assistant superintendent of the New Jersey District Council, and another two years as New Jersey executive secretary. Smith pastored two New Jersey churches for a combined 26 years.
“This Fellowship has been blessed by his spiritual leadership, practical wisdom, and faithfulness in ministry and wisdom,” read the resolution approved by the General Council and sponsored by the New Jersey District General Presbytery. He “has represented the highest standards of integrity, ethics, loyalty, diligence, and hard work.”
Smith and his wife of 47 years, Phyllis, who have six grown daughters, greeted well-wishers at the reception Thursday night. In giving his final U.S. Missions report to the General Council on Friday morning, Smith thanked his family for their sacrifices while he spent years in ministry leadership.
Malcolm P. Burleigh will succeed Smith as U.S. Missions executive director. Burleigh has been director of Intercultural Ministries since 2009. Smith on Friday morning called Burleigh a dear friend and brother.