Kendra Buckwalter Smith started attending Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC) in 2004 as an undergraduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. She graduated in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Religious Studies, and earned certificates in Medieval and Renaissance Studies. In 2008 she joined the church as well as the Chancel Choir. During her years at Shadyside, Kendra has served on the Malachi Market Committee, the Director of Music Ministry Search Committee, and the Young Adult/Graduate Student Ministries Leadership Team. She has conducted the Children’s Bell Choir, volunteered with SPYS (youth group), periodically led Christian Education classes, and traveled to Guatemala and Israel/Palestine.
After her undergraduate work, Kendra attended Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PTS), where she earned a Master of Divinity degree, followed by a Master of Sacred Theology degree. While at PTS, Kendra was awarded the Valentour World Travel Fellowship for the study of worship music in Africa, the Watson Samuel Boyce Music Prize for the most outstanding contribution to the life of the seminary in church music, the Walter P. and Anna L. McConkey Award in Homiletics, the James Purdy Scholarship for high excellence in seminary work, and the Catherine and Andrew Purves Merit Scholarship. In addition, she is a published author, having written for Presbyterians Today and Call to Worship.
Rev. Smith completed the ordination process with the Presbyterian Church (USA) under the care of the Session of SPC and was ordained in SPC on April 30, 2017. (Read more about this joyful occasion.) Rev. Smith’s ordination was not the first milestone celebrated in our beautiful sanctuary; in August 2012, Kendra and her husband, Deacon Garret Smith, were married at a wedding ceremony at SPC.
Presently, Rev. Smith serves as the Director of the Worship Program at PTS. (Learn more about her ministry at PTS.) Each Sunday, Kendra regularly leads worship by singing with the Shadyside Presbyterian Church Chancel Choir. In September 2019, we welcomed Rev. Smith to the church staff as Temporary Associate Pastor. (Visit her staff profile here.) We give thanks to God for the many ways in which this ministerial daughter of our congregation shares her gifts in our community of faith.