Bishop’s Reflections

Reflections from Bishop Tim Smith

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Bishop’s Reflections2017-01-21T13:41:19-05:00

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…)

April 1st, 2019|


“If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” That’s the classic philosophical starter around the issues of observation and perception. If I tell you I’ll meet you at 9 a.m., but you (a) can’t hear me, (b) can hear me but aren’t paying attention, or (c) did hear me but are so distracted you forgot, did we communicate? Communication is a constant on the “needs improvement” list of any organization or relationship. That’s why my Gmail signature quote is, “The biggest problem I have with communication is overcoming the delusion that it has actually occurred.” (more…)

March 4th, 2019|

Lent: Deep Honesty, Deep Freedom

In the 8th chapter of John, Jesus promises us that “if you continue in my Word, you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free.” Of course, his audience argues with him. “Set free? Whatever do you mean? We’ve never been slaves to anyone or anything!” (my paraphrase) Apparently the same truth that sets us free also stings to begin with. What difference does a declaration of freedom make if we don’t even realize we are bound? (more…)

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