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Life & Legacy of Kenneth B. Smith, Sr., Chicago Public Leader and Former President of Chicago Theological Seminary to be Honored at February Lecture
CHICAGO- February 6, 2019 – Join Chicago Theological Seminary and the CTS Center for the Study of Black Faith & Life as we honor the life and service of the legendary Chicago community leader, and former CTS President, the late Rev. Dr. Kenneth B. Smith, Sr., with a lecture on Thursday, February 21, 2019. The evening will begin with a reception starting at 5:45 pm and will feature retrospective photography, a lecture by Dr. Julia M. Speller, Kenneth B. Smith Professor of Public Ministry, and associate professor of American religious history & culture, and recitations from the speeches and archived works of Rev. Dr. Smith by family and friends.
“Being the Kenneth B. Smith, Sr. Professor of Public Ministry is an honor that in many ways affirms my long-standing commitment to being a bridge that links the Academy and the Church,” said Dr. Speller. “Dr. Smith taught us how to build bridges during challenging times and in so doing has sustained and advanced many communities. This is a goal that I continue to strive for in my work and witness.”
Smith was able to successfully navigate and connect three critical sectors in the public square including the church, the academy, and the civic-business sector. He was a beloved pastor, scholar, and community builder. Rev. Dr. Smith held many roles, including pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ and Church of the Good Shepherd, both on the city’s South Side. He became president of CTS in 1984 and for the next 14 years, helped put the school on strong financial ground and attracted some of the best theological minds to join the Seminary’s academic and administrative ranks. He served on many boards, including the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Community Trust.
“As I interface with parishioners, community leaders, and clergy familiar with Rev. Kenneth B. Smith, I am inspired by the breadth and depth of his commitment to making the ministry of Christ evident in the community,” said Brian E. Smith, director of advancement and strategic partnerships. “He provides us with a blueprint of what it means to be truly committed to ministry.”
During the month of February, the presidential portraits of CTS’s first president, Franklin Fisk, along with Rev. Dr. Charles Shelby Rooks and Rev. Dr. Susan B. Thistlethwaite will be on display in the lobby of our building. These individuals were significant to the Seminary in many ways, most notably being the first black president and first woman president, respectively.
The presidential portrait of Rev. Dr. Smith will be unveiled during the lecture. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required. Visit ctschicago.edu/kennethsmith to reserve your seat.