Calvary Chapel's Chuck Smith Faces Loss of Sister, More Cancer Treatment

Pastor Chuck Smith, widely recognized as a leader of the Jesus movement in the U.S. during the '60s and '70s, will be undergoing more radiation and drug therapy for his lung cancer, his family announced Monday.

Smith's tumor had been reduced in size after undergoing radiation and chemotherapy treatment that began earlier this year, but after doctors ruled out surgery recently he and his family decided on a treatment that combines more of the same and additional medication.

Last Sunday at Calvary Chapel in Costa Mesa, Calif., Smith, 84, made the announcement to his church that his sister, Virginia Smith Fromm, had passed away that evening after a prolonged illness.

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Janette Smith Manderson, who is Smith's daughter, gave a family update on Monday. She writes in a Facebook prayer group page designated for her father:

"First, thank you to all who are praying for Dad during this time of missing his older sister, Virginia, a wonderful woman of God who went to Heaven last night. Second, I went with Dad to his oncologist last week and the radiation doctor today. The Tumor Board at his hospital (including 30+ doctors) recommends that he try a new chemo plus Avastin (destroys the tumor's blood supply) and to have two more weeks of radiation.

"He prayed, agreed, and started the infusions today and will start radiation this week. He feels 'wonderful' (as he told the doctor today) and is eager to finish this cancer battle. The doctors think he will continue to feel good during these treatments and can keep up all his ministry activities. PTL!!

"Please pray that the Lord will do everything that is in His heart for my dear Dad. You prayer warriors are so important in this war with lung cancer. I can't emphasize this enough. Thank you for your faithfulness in love and prayer."

Manderson told The Christian Post on Monday that Fromm, who passed away at 87, was the mother of Pastor Bob Fromm of Calvary Chapel Yuba City; Chuck Fromm, publisher of Worship Leader magazine; Gary Fromm of Modesto; and Rick Fromm of Irvine. She was the grandmother of 11 grandchildren, "who all love and serve God," and one great-grand baby, Tessa Fromm, three months old.

"All her life, Virginia was a wonderful woman of prayer and faith. My cousins told me that every night they fell asleep to the sound of their parents, on their knees in the living room, praying," Manderson said.

Many of Fromm's family were at her side last Friday at her home for "one last visit and family reunion," Manderson explained in a message to CP.

"The house was filled with the presence of God. We all sat together in the living room and reminisced, sang a few hymns, talked about Heaven, and told Virginia how much we loved her. I told her that she and Dad were lighting the way for the rest of us as they walked through their cancer journeys, showing us how to keep living our lives to the fullest, as they have done, and trusting God every step of the way," she wrote.

Smith continues to keep to his schedule of preaching during Calvary Chapel's Sunday services, teaching a mid-week Bible study, and answering caller questions during "Pastor's Perspective," a radio show available on Christian stations and online at

"Papa Chuck," as some call him, stunned his congregation on a weekend last January when during Sunday services he announced that he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

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