Rev. Smith, tell us about yourself.
I am the pastor of Advent United Church of Christ in Columbus, Ohio. I have two children, a daughter, Caroline, who graduated from Spelman College in 2008 and a son who is in college at this time. I graduated from Occidental College in Los Angeles, Ca., and went to Yale Divinity School where I got my M.Div and United Theological Seminary where I earned my D.Min. I’ve done a lot of things in my life that I am proud of, but one of the highest points in my life happened last year when I went to Oxford University in England to give a paper. It was so exciting for me to be in a place where so many famous writers, statesmen and others have been. I cannot put into words how much I loved being there!
How do you find time to connect with God?
I have a schedule; I work a lot from home, and there is my "God time" every day, before I really get going. I have a second "God time" when I walk my dogs. On those walks it is me and my dogs … and God. No phone. I really connect with God when I am outside, when I can actually see the beauty of His holiness in everything around me. Those two "God times" I take every day make all the difference in what kind of day I have.
Do you have a favorite bible verse and or quote you wish to share?
Isaiah 43:1-5 is my favorite. God says that we are not to be afraid because he has redeemed us, and then he says through the prophet Isaiah, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you, and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." Those words give me an immense amount of strength in hard times.
Tell us about your new book release, Crazy Faith: Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives.
"It hasn’t been extraordinary people who have changed the world; rather, it’s been people who have been willing to act and live on faith," observes pastor and author Susan Smith. Drawing on biblical, historical, and contemporary stories of what she calls "crazy faith," this inspirational volume challenges readers to dare to step out and make a difference in the world. Faith is "vision fueled by action," Smith declares. Follow in the footsteps of those who have earned a place in the Hall of Faith, including Moses, Harriet Tubman, David, Nelson Mandela, Sarah and Abraham, Mother Teresa, Noah, and Mary McLeod Bethune.
While you were writing Crazy Faith, did any of your research or findings enlighten you?
Yes. Learning about Mother Teresa was life-changing for me. I knew about her, but reading about her in depth changed my life and deepened my faith and conviction. I also marveled at the story of Mary McLeod Bethune, saying she had money to purchase land for the school she wanted to build, and then going home and baking pies all night to get that money to him. I was amazed. Talk about crazy faith!
What’s next for you?
I am in prayer now about my next book. I am also working on a project to get brand new books to schools in New Orleans and now, Galveston. I am thinking that this book project is going to extend to schools in urban areas all over the country. I feel a wrenching in my soul when I think about how children in urban areas get so few chances to aptly compete in this world. I think that part of my overall ministry is to help make a difference for them.
Where can visitors find you online?
My website is www.susanksmithministries.org. People can also get information from my church’s website, www.adventucc.org.