Our Minister Emeritus
The Rev. Dr. Brent A. Smith
The Rev. Dr. Brent A. Smith was the founding minister of All Souls Community Church of West Michigan and served this congregation from 2002 to 2010. On May 3, 2015 by unanimous vote the congregation of All Souls elected to confer the honor and title of Minister Emeritus upon the Rev. Dr. Brent Smith for his devoted and competent ministerial leadership.
Dr. Smith was born 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 served congregations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Grand Rapids, Michigan in his over 26 years in parish ministry. In 2010 he was invited onto the faculty of Grand Valley State University to help create a Religious Studies Program. He has presented at national professional conferences in both ministerial and academic settings, published numerous lectures, booklets, papers, and articles, launched two periodicals serving as founding editor for each, and was the host and helped write and produce television locally and nationally. He has served as President of two different UUMA Chapters, numerous committees of the UUA, on local and state non-profit boards in three different areas of the county, as well as nationwide organizations.
Currently Dr. Smith is an Associate Professor teaching in the Religious Studies Program at Grand Valley State University. Dr. Smith lives in Grand Rapids with his wife Pat, Associate Vice President and Deputy General Counsel for Grand Valley State University. They have two grown children.
His most recent article can be accessed here:
Transforming Discourse: Interdisciplinary critique, the university, and the academic study of religion: https://www.cogentoa.com/api/content/article/10.1080/23311983.2015.1128318.pdf