Bishop’s Reflections

Reflections from Bishop Tim Smith

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Bishop’s Reflections2017-01-21T13:41:19-04:00

September 30th, 2019|

Visiting Papua New Guinea

Over 1400 inhabited islands. Over 800 distinct languages. An independent country since 1975. Over 1,000 anthropological-distinct cultures. 27% Roman Catholic. 21% Lutheran. 11% other Christians. Along with the Amazon basin, home to some of the last remnants of Stone Age civilizations. Six degrees south of the Equator. Stunningly beautiful natural tropical paradise. Abundant natural resources including gold and oil. Crocodiles, snakes, and the Bird of Paradise—both the plant the the actual bird. High crime. Highest domestic violence rate in the world. Deep governmental corruption. Virtually non-existent infrastructure. 80% of inhabitants have no electricity or access to clean water. Unbelievingly hospitable people. Deep vulnerability to development and exploitation by businesses of other nations. These are a few of some of my amateur observations after spending a couple of weeks in Papua New Guinea (PNG) last month (plus another week of travel to/from). (more…)

September 1st, 2019|



“Lord prepare me to be a sanctuary, pure and holy, tried and true. With thanksgiving I’ll be a living sanctuary for you.”

I wonder how many hundred times I’ve sung those words at camp, on retreats, and in contemporary worship services of the early 2000s. I’ll bet a lot of you know it and have sung it too.

“All who would like to help decorate the sanctuary for the season of Advent are welcome and encouraged to join the altar guild this coming Saturday from 10-2.”

“Please silence your cell phones before entering the sanctuary.”

“How many people will your sanctuary seat?”

All of these are phrases that, if you’ve ever hung around a Lutheran church, you’ve heard some variation of many times. (more…)

August 5th, 2019|

We are church

That’s the theme under which 16 voting members (elected at our 2018 assembly) and about a thousand other folks from the other 64 synods of the ELCA gather for the Churchwide Assembly. What’s that about, you say? Well, it happens only once every three years, and it is the highest decision-making body of this church. It’s happening NOW as this e-news edition is published as we gather August 5-10 in Milwaukee. It has a lot in common with other business/political meetings, but at its core it is communal spiritual discernment. (more…)

July 1st, 2019|

What bishops do

I’ve spent last week from early each morning until dark each night at Lenoir-Rhyne University with 13 high schoolers from all over Region 9 in the ELCA. Though “Bishops’ School” has been happening for decades, several years ago it started rotating around to happen on the territory of the six Region 9 synods (comprising eight states, the Bahamas, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands). This year is the first year in its long history that the event has been in North Carolina. The school is a chance for high school students to dive deep into theology. Some of them are interested in professional church vocations. Some aren’t. (more…)

June 2nd, 2019|


Bishop Smith addresses assembly

Bishop Tim Smith’s address to the assembly began with a video thanking the NC Synod for their giving and lifting up the many ways the synod raises up so many fine candidates for ministry: LRU, LTSS, Agape+Kure Beach Ministries, NovusWay Ministries, campus ministry programs, and LYO.

Then, he stood to address the assembly. (more…)

May 6th, 2019|

Women in ministry

On the day this article is published, I and all the bishops from Region 9* will be in Puerto Rico along with our facilitator, Dr. Mindy Makant, deacon, of Lenoir-Rhyne University and the NC Synod, to discuss, affirm, and work out logistical possibilities based on a document formulated in a series of meetings by female bishop’s staff members throughout Region 9. This document seeks to find a productive way forward more intentionally to address systemic challenges faced by women in ministry. (more…)

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