The Rev. Brenda Smith

Program Director, ELCA Faith and Book of Faith

The Rev. Brenda SmithI was teaching nursing at Capital University in Columbus, Ohio and was struggling with my faith after my father died suddenly and I was going through a divorce. Trinity Lutheran Seminary was across the street from the university, so I decided to take classes to learn more about the bible and faith. After a while people at the seminary and others suggested that I consider going into ministry. My response was, “Me? No way? Getting up every Sunday and saying something profound that will inspire listeners in their faith for the rest of the week? NO WAY! But after spending a year in my Ministry in Context congregation, a seminary requirement, I saw how a pastor can make a difference in the lives of others by guiding them in their faith; but also realized the importance of going out into the community and sharing the light of Christ.

My Ministry in Context congregation was in the inner city and since I grew up I the inner city, I always had and still have a desire to make a difference in the lives of those living there. My supervisor was Rev. Carol Stumme who demonstrated unconditional love for all, and her example was a model for me in how I was called to approach ministry. I did not grow up Lutheran, but did join a Lutheran Church shortly after taking seminary classes and my pastor, Rev. Earlean Miller, the first African American woman ordained in the Lutheran Church in America, showed an enthusiasm for ministry that was a gift for me to experience. Two of my seminary professors, Rev. Rudolph Featherstone and Rev. Dr. Walter Taylor got me excited about the bible in ways I never thought possible, but also taught me that pastors can be fun people, who love God and love life.