Meet Pastor Joy

The Reverend M. Joy Smith 











An Introduction to Pastor Joy from 2008 when she was installed as Pastor of Presbyterian Church of the Apostles

I was ordained by the Presbytery of Chicago on December 19, 1993, to serve as an associate pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Lake Forest, Illinois.  Since then, I have served a variety of churches in various locations:  a pastor in a small farm community in Minnesota; associate in a United Methodist Church in Tucson, Arizona; interim positions in mid-size churches in AZ, IL and FL; pastor in a transitional congregation in Jacksonville, FL; college instructor at Concordia in Moorhead; a therapist in Chicago; a hospital chaplain in Knoxville; and the stated supply in a New Church Development.  I have had the unique opportunity to serve Christ’s church in different ways and points of view.  I am seeking this new place God has in mind.

I am a pastor at heart.  The training I received in Clinical Pastoral Education, pastoral psychotherapy, and social worker shapes my ministry.  The opportunity to be with people as they cry, laugh, and make meaning, is a precious treasure.  After 18 years I still find challenge and curiosity in preaching.  I love dancing with scripture – embracing history and tradition in one hand and holding the newspaper in the other, trying to uncover clues in the ancient texts that might help make sense of the world today.  I am awed with the honor of standing up and saying words that I pray will be acceptable to God.

I hold a BS degree in psychology from Presbyterian College in South Carolina; a Master of Arts from Union Presbyterian Seminary in Richmond, VA; Master of Divinity from Columbia Theological Seminary; a fellowship in Psychotherapy at the Center for Religion and Psychotherapy in Chicago, IL; and also completed ABD toward a Doctorate in Ministry at Union Presbyterian Seminary.

I am an avid runner and ran 3 marathons including Grandma’s in Duluth. My family enjoys bike rides, hikes, or just a walk on the beach. I have a truly wonderful family. My daughter Katie is 20 years old and a second year student at Smith College in Northampton, MA.  She makes beautiful music with the piano, and is seriously engaged in issues of the environment and politics.  My charming son Hunter is 17 years old and makes meaning and gives meaning to drama and theatre. He has a clever sense of humor – and there is never a dull moment in our household. In addition we have a golden retriever, Kristy, who is very spoiled and appears to put up with us.

My husband, Chuck is my partner; we value communication, spending time together and conversations over the injustices in the world – at least from our vantage point. We share values of open-mindedness, appreciation for diversity, and love for nature. Chuck is a graduate of St. Olaf and holds a PHD in biology from the University of Iowa.  Chuck is the Dean of Science and Math at Minneapolis Community and Technical College.

I share PCA’s commitment to the values of radical hospitality and mission in the community and world.  The Apostles Church models well the statement  “Jesus demonstrates God’s unconditional love for all people and requires us to do justice, love kindness, and walk humbly with God.”

I am attracted to three areas of this community of faith:  1) The call to do serious social justice. I wish to serve a congregation that is serious about following Jesus and engages the world in doing justice, offering kindness, and walking humbly with God. 2) The belief that the root of social action and justice work is always grounded in the Spirit. 3) The model of mission leadership from Apostle Groups is innovative and the best way to do ministry.  I am pleased to service a church that seeks leadership to lead and join in inclusive community, to engage the hard questions and to “embrace the Spirit to put faith into action.” That is a message worth sharing and living together.

I look forward to where God leads us and making new friends who will certainly captivate our hearts, souls, and minds and bless us anew.

May the Peace of Christ be with us all on this sacred journey…

Pastor Joy Smith