The Reverend Christine A. Smith, B.S., M.Div., Author, Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors
Rev. Christine A. Smith, affectionately called, "Pastor Chris," answered the call to the Gospel Ministry and was licensed to preach at age 17. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Education Degree, specializing in Learning Disabilities and Developmental Handicaps from the University of Akron (1987). For three years while in seminary, Rev. Smith served as a student intern at Mount Zion Baptist Church, Griffin, GA, under the tutelage of the Rev. Dr. Cleopatrick Lacy, Senior Pastor. In 1990, she earned the Master of Divinity Degree from the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC), Morehouse School of Religion (Atlanta, GA), specializing in Systematic Theology and Women's Studies.
In 1993, Rev. Smith joined the Olivet Institutional Baptist Church (Cleveland, Ohio) under the pastorate of the Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr., and was ordained to the Gospel Ministry in 1995. She served Olivet as the Minister of Christian Education for three years. In 2001, Rev. Smith was featured in The African American Pulpit as one of the "Twenty to Watch" (Winter 2001-2002 issue, Judson Press). She was called to serve as pastor of the Covenant Baptist Church, Wickliffe (now Euclid, Ohio), in 2006. Rev Smith is the church's first female pastor, first African American pastor, and the second female Baptist pastor of a mainline denomination in the greater Cleveland area (American Baptist Churches USA).
Rev. Smith served as a Trustee of the Cleveland Baptist Association (approximately 38 member congregations, Regional Branch of the American Baptist Churches, USA) in various capacities over a 20 year period. She chaired the Department of Ministry, served as Vice President and twice as President of the Association. In 2001 she led the Association in establishing the “CBA Fund for Theological Education,” a scholarship fund to assist clergy and laity in obtaining a seminary education. From 2012 –2014, Rev. Smith provided Executive Leadership to the Association during a season when CBA did not have an Executive Minister and could not afford to hire an Interim or Executive Minister. As such, she paved the way for CBA to call their first female Executive Minister.
In 2009, Rev. Smith wrote and successfully obtained a grant from the American Baptist National Ministers Council to organize Women Together in Ministry of Greater Cleveland, a network designed to connect, encourage, and support women in ministry. She also produces a weekly blog, "Shepastor," dedicated to equipping and encouraging female clergy. Her book, Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling: Equipping and Encouraging Female Pastors (Judson Press, 2013), has been featured locally on Fox 8 News and Newsnet 5, Kaleidoscope Magazine with News Anchor and Host, Mr. Leon Bibb (February 24th, 2013 # 3)
Rev. Smith has served as a lecturer/workshop leader for the historic Hampton Ministers and Musicians Conference (2013), John Carroll University, Cleveland, Ohio for the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., observance (“Continuing the Dream: Women and the Ministry, 2014), keynote speaker for the Church of the Brethren, Annual Conference Intercultural Luncheon, dealing with the injustices of sexism and racism (2014), as well as for the Church of the Brethren National Older Adult Conference, guest preacher (2015).
Rev. Smith was featured as a lecturer/workshop leader and preacher for a special event named for her book, “Beyond the Stained Glass Ceiling,” sponsored by Ashland Theological Seminary. Internationally, Rev. Smith was interviewed to discuss her book and the realities of the "stained glass ceiling" on the Sean Moncrieff show, Ireland Newstalk In 2016, Rev. Smith and her husband were invited to travel to the Holy Land, Israel on a missions trip. She served as a delegate, representing the Women in Ministry Department of the Progressive National Baptist Convention (The Rev. Dr. James Perkins, President).
In 2017, Rev. Smith became the first female pastor to host the Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc., Midwest Region. On January 12th, 2018, Rev. Smith was honored to serve as the speaker for the Annual Cleveland Clinic MLK, Jr., Interfaith Service, . An honor she says, "...Was a highlight of my life and ministry work!"
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Rev. Smith's leadership, Covenant Baptist Church developed a five-year vision plan to launch and implement a Stewardship of Life program, designed to teach the congregation the importance of faithful stewardship through tithing and using their gifts and skills to serve. The teachings led to the church paying off over $50,000 in debt. The new vision included selling the church property, changing the church name (from Covenant Baptist Church to Restoration Ministries of Greater Cleveland, Inc.) and launching a new direction for the ministry. Currently, the church is in the process of preparing to acquire a new worship center.
In addition to her role as a senior pastor, Rev. Smith has served as a professor for the Cleveland Baptist Association Quarterly Training Institute and the Ohio Leadership Academy. She served as adjunct faculty for Ashland Theological Seminary as a small group leader in the Master of Divinity Cohort and continues her work with Ashland as a Pastoral Mentor in the "Thriving Church Ministries" (TCM) Certificate Program. Locally and nationally, Rev. Smith receives invitations to lecture, preach and teach, for churches, clergy groups, denominations, universities and seminaries, addressing the interlocking injustices of sexism, racism and classism. Currently, Rev. Smith is pursuing a PhD in Human Services: Nonprofit Leadership and Management from Capella University.
Rev. Smith is the proud wife of Mr. Aristide Smith, Jr. Together they have two sons, Aristide Smith, III and Caleb Alexander Smith and one daughter, Aris Christine Smith. For all of these blessings, Rev. Smith simply says, “To God be the glory for the great things He has done!”