I’m delighted to let you know that the Church Council has voted unanimously to call the Rev. Todd Smiedendorf to the temporary position of Bridge Minister for a period of approx. 12-18 months.
Rev. J. Todd Smiedendorf received his M.Div from Iliff School of Theology in Denver in 1993; he was ordained in 2001. He has served as an associate minister, a campus minister, and an interim minister; he has been Senior Minister of the Washington Park UCC in Denver since 2011. He and his wife, Allison, currently live in Boulder. He is the author of one book, CrossWork: An Integrated Tool for Spiritual Direction.
Worship at Washington Park UCC under his leadership has been recognized as a national UCC Still Speaking Institute model. His references describe him as “a good preacher, a creative worship leader, a compassionate presence,” giving “attention to power and privilege,” and having “a great balance of head and heart.” Todd particularly impressed the committee with his description of being one of 500 clergy present for a day of solidarity with the Lakota at Standing Rock.
As Jan von Lehe has written…
We had so many great candidates! The Interim task force had consensus of key areas of expertise and skill we looked for and we talked in depth and at length about various strengths that we saw.
I was impressed by Todd’s deep presence where he framed questions and issues in ways that brought a spiritual depth and sharing to our conversations. This feels like a true gift for us to have ease in conversations that deepen our faith and spiritual journey, even on the way to the airport.
During our Skype interview I could feel his deep concern for social justice issues, most specifically I’ve held an image of him standing beside Native Americans at Standing Rock to bear witness and walk with them. I believe he will call us to grow in our work to create a beloved community, to help the homeless, to address racial justice issues, to help the poor, to care for this earth.
Todd’s approaches to pastoral care were also remarkable to me in his ability to talk about how he enters into a situation to find ‘what is’ for those he’s responding to – to find their truth and to provide support in ways that are meaningful. It seemed he exercises great care and is very thoughtful in approaches to manage conflict. He seems excited and capable to be an effective and collegial member of our Leadership Team.
So much more could be said about his progressive Christian theology, his sense of mystery about the dimensions of our worship, etc, but I will close by saying Todd brings a deep conviction of faith and justice and his real presence and love of people is clear and I am excited to recommend he be called as our bridge minister.
Todd and Allison will have some “commuter marriage” time, with Allison continuing her work in Colorado and also hoping to find some clients to work with in Seattle, so she can be here as much as possible. She works as an independent consultant in organizational and leadership development, specializing in women’s leadership and spirituality in leadership.
Here in Seattle, Todd and Allison are looking to rent a spacious room (or rooms) in a peaceful shared home; please reach out if you have a lead for them.
Todd plans to begin his time with us on Wednesday January 2. Please welcome him!