JERUSALEM – On Sunday, the 23rd of September, Bishop Munib Younan installed Rev. Carrie Smith as the pastor of the English Speaking congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in Jerusalem and as Special Assistant to the Bishop. Along with her blessing from Bishop Younan, Rev. Ibrahim Azar of the Arabic Speaking congregation, Rev. Mari Parkkinen of the Finnish Evangelical Lutheran Mission, Rev. Mark Brown, the Church Council Chairperson of the English Speaking congregation, Rev. Robert Smith, both a special advisor to Bishop Younan and Rev. Carrie’s husband, and Propst Wolfgang Schmidt, Representative of the Evangelische Kirche Deutschland in Jerusalem, Rev. Carrie was also surrounded by members of the English and Arabic speaking congregations, as well as her husband and children. Bishop Younan presented the places of Word and Sacrament – the font, altar, and pulpit – after the blessing and the laying on of hands.
Carrie Ballenger Smith is a graduate of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, and has served urban, rural, and suburban churches in the Chicagoland area before coming to Redeemer. She is the recipient of the 2013 Brave Preacher Award from the Beatitudes Society (http://www.beatitudessociety.org/) for her sermon on gun violence, written after the Newtown shootings in 2012. While in Illinois, Carrie was active with the local interfaith consortium (FaithBridge), served on the Global Mission Committee of the NI Synod, and was vice-president of the McHenry County Mental Health Board.
Carrie is married to the Rev. Dr. Robert Smith, who serves as Special Advisor to Bishop Munib Younan in his role as president of the Lutheran World Federation. Robert is the author of “More Desired Than Our Owne Salvation: The Roots of Christian Zionism” (Oxford University Press, 2013). Carrie and Robert have two sons, Caleb and Zion.
During the service, Bishop Younan baptized one-year-old Marc Raouf Azar, as well as commissioned volunteers from the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America‘s Young Adults in Global Mission Program, the Lutheran World Federation, and the Mennonite Central Committee. The workers and volunteers were commissioned to be sent out to their communities where they will be teaching, working with the local community, and organizing accompaniment programs between Palestinians and groups from around the world. In Bishop’s sermon, he told the gathered congregation that all were equal, from this child “who hasn’t uttered a word” to the pastor – all are equal in God’s grace.
To hear Bishop Younan’s sermon from the installation and commissioning, visit the ELCJHL’s SoundCloud gallery.