Biography of Dr. Brent A. Smith
Dr. Brent A. Smith was born in 1954 and raised in Richmond, Indiana, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature from Hanover College in 1976. In college Dr. Smith studied Existentialism, American literature, and the works of James Joyce, while also receiving All-American honors as a linebacker on the Hanover College football team. After several years working in the business world, Dr. Smith acted upon a call to the ministry by entering the Divinity School of the University of Chicago, graduating with a Masters of Arts degree in 1983, and with a Doctor of Ministry degree from Meadville/Lombard Theological School in 1984. While in seminary Dr. Smith studied the works of Paul Tillich, Soren Kierkegaard, Mircea Eliade, and wrote his doctoral dissertation on pragmatism and the religious philosophy of William James under the direction of David Tracy. Dr. Smith was ordained into the Unitarian Universalist ministry and began serving his first congregation in north Milwaukee in 1983, and has served congregations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he is currently serving All Souls Community Church, a new start congregation founded in 2001. He has published numerous articles, started one national and one regional publication, has hosted and helped to write and produce a national television show, Faith in the Free Church for the Faith and Values Network, and has written several adult religious education curricula especially designed for the unchurched. He has been featured in the Sightings online journal of the Martin Marty Center at the University of Chicago, and the Journal of Liberal Religion, with his most recent article, “A New Birth of Freedom,” on Abraham Lincoln and the idea of covenant, available here. Currently, he is President of the Heartland UUMA Chapter and serves on the Midwest Regional Sub-Committee of the MFC. Dr. Smith lives in Grand Rapids with his wife Pat, a lawyer with Grand Valley State University. They have two grown children, Elizabeth and Josh.
Mission: To live so as to be an example of the embodied spiritual life
Calling: To build strong liberal Unitarian Universalist churches