I'm Stuart D. (Stu) Smith. I'm currently serving on the pastoral staff of First Presbyterian Church of Urbana Illinois. Previous to that call, I have served as a "tentmaker" minister Acts 18:1-6 with other employment—usually secular—supporting me as I served small congregations in Chicago. Primary to this secular work has been teaching computer science and building of websites.
I graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary in 1988. From 1989 to 1996, I was an outreach minister at The Night Ministry working with persons underserved by traditional churches and secular social service agencies. I served primarily in the Lakeview neighborhood of Chicago.
In 1995, I founded Café Pride a coffee house/drop-in center for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Café Pride continued as an outreach ministry of Lake View Presbyterian Church. until 2016.
While I was finishing up my doctorate, I served at McCormick as the Director of Public Relations and Communications. In that position I maintained the Seminary's website and supervised or designed the institution's print materials.
I received a Doctor of Ministry Degree from McCormick in 2001 with a concentration in Religious Education. My doctoral thesis was Out of the Church Basement and into Cyberspace: Internet-Based Religious Education for Youth. At graduation, I received McCormick's 2001 John Randall Hunt prize for the outstanding Doctor of Ministry thesis.
In 2001, I began serving as the Stated Supply pastor at St. James Presbyterian Church in the West Rogers Park neighborhood of Chicago. I served there for over ten years
I'm currently serving the First Presbyterian Church of Urbana, Illinois as the Director of Education and Congregational Care.
Online Religious Education
In addition to my paid ministry, I produce religious education materials and offer them on the web.
These websites were initially built to hold my notes for my own teaching, and now I offer them to anyone of any religious tradition who finds them useful. None of these websites should be used to replace the face-to-face interaction and personal relationships that characterize a worshiping community. They were designed to fill in the background, to whet the appetite, and sometimes to push students beyond what anyone would be expected to master. Some of this material is obviously only for more adventurous students.
If you use these materials as a religious educator and have the time, I'd love to hear how you've been able to use this material. Additionally, if you find errors in the coding or in the text, please let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Current Religious Education Websites
- The Spirituality Project
- Bible Geography: Maps and Quizzes
- New Member Training for PCUSA Churches
- Confirmation Class Materials
A site I built that I'm proud of but that is no longer terribly useful is Title to Tune in The Presbyterian Hymnal.
Although I'm proud of the effort that went into this site, The Presbyterian Hymnal has been replaced in most PCUSA congregations by Glory to God. This new hymnal is complemented by an app that more perfectly provides the help my website provided.
This new, very useful app is available for download from iTunes here.
Designing Your Website
I enjoy designing websites for organizations and companies serving the common good. If you'd like to get an idea of the kinds of sites I build, I suggest you look at my religious education sites above, my commercial sites on my résumé page, and these templates.