Her heart heavy over the recent loss of a husband who served
so many in countless capacities, Dolores "Dee" Smith has found at
least 48 ways to make a sweet difference during Mission:1.
"It is only four dozen cookies, but they went to help feed
homeless people," said Smith, whose husband, the Rev. Robert E. ("Bob")
Smith died Oct. 5 after a brief illness.
"It's a small thing, but I can do this now, even though
I'm still raw with my own tender feelings about what's happened to my own cookie-eater."
Smith's reference was to her husband and his palette for the
chocolate-dotted delights – and to lending her baking talent to benefit local homeless
at an ecumenical gathering Nov. 3.
"Baking the cookies warmed my home and my heart,"
she said. "I pray that every soul who ate the cookies will know God's
When her great-granddaughter announced she was selling
cookie dough for a school fund-raiser, Smith didn't think twice. Pilgrim Congregational UCC, Smith's new church home in Wichita, Kan., needed eight
dozen home-baked cookies for the Nov. 3 event. Smith seized her Mission:1
moment, volunteering to bake half of them.
"This was for people who otherwise would not get something
fresh," said Smith, adding with a gentle laugh, "actually, they were 'gourmet,'
according to the fund-raising literature from my great-granddaughter's school."
The event involved several Wichita churches, said Smith, and
drew about 40 homeless men to the local Methodist church. "That's where
this particular event is always held, but various churches take turns helping. Our
turn came around this month."
Smith said she was excited to be a part of the "global
feel" of Mission:1. "That, to me, is the important thing. Working
together we can accomplish so much. And it's great to see those parts pulling
Smith said her husband's ministerial career comprised more
than 60 years as a pastor in Southern Baptist and UCC settings. "His
father and grandfather were Southern Baptists," she said, "but Bob
saw the light and graduated from UCC-related Eden Theological Seminary about
32 years ago."
A missionary in Brazil with the Southern Baptists in the
1960s, Smith taught seminary in Brazil and Kansas City, said his widow. He was a
bible scholar, read many languages and provided an influential presence among
the Central Association of the UCC Kansas Oklahoma Conference, she added.
The Smiths, married 33 years, had joined Pilgrim this past
spring after Bob's retirement following six years as pastor of Midland
Community UCC in Sterling, Kan. – a 70-mile, one-way commute from the Smiths'
home in Wichita.
An avid fitness enthusiast, Bob Smith turned 80 last
February. He became ill Oct. 1, was hospitalized two days later, and died Oct.
5 of an infection in his bloodstream, said his widow.
"The world has lost a great
mind," she said. "I miss him."