Welcoming Rev. Kendra Buckwalter Smith to Staff

Rev. Kendra L. Buckwalter Smith
Rev. Kendra L. Buckwalter Smith
Rev. Smith Joins Staff as Temporary Associate Pastor

Following Rev. John Magnuson’s departure in July 2019, the Human Resources (HR) Committee of the Session has been working diligently to discern how to proceed and to address immediate staffing needs. Our Youth Ministry responsibilities were identified as an early priority, and the HR Committee is especially excited to announce that the Reverend Kendra L. Buckwalter Smith has joined the church staff as Temporary Associate Pastor.

Our enthusiasm, of course, stems from the fact that Rev. Smith is no stranger to Shadyside Presbyterian Church (SPC). A ministerial daughter of our church family, she has attended worship and actively engaged in the life of this congregation since 2004, during her time as an undergraduate student. In 2017, Rev. Smith completed the ordination process with the Presbyterian Church (USA) under the care of the Session of SPC and was ordained in our Sanctuary. Throughout the year, she regularly supports our music in worship on Sunday mornings by singing with the Chancel Choir.

In assuming this new role, Rev. Smith expands her worship leadership to include non-musical elements of liturgy as she joins our clergy in the Chancel on a regular basis. In addition, parishioners will enjoy the opportunity to hear her preach more often as she enters the rotation of ministers who deliver the homily during our midweek vespers services.

Her primary responsibilities, though, include oversight of the Sunday morning Christian Education classes and curriculum for our students in grades six through twelve, as well as the afternoon Shadyside Presbyterian Youth Sundays (SPYS) program for youth in the same age ranges. This facet of her work has already begun unofficially. This summer, Kendra began building relationships with our youth as they worked alongside each other in North Carolina while participating in the Mars Hill mission experience. She also attended a summer choral training course with our children’s music director Stephen Donnelly and chorister Dhini Leach in Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania.

The part-time nature of this position means that Rev. Smith will continue serving full-time as the Director of the Worship Program at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, strengthening our longtime partnership with the seminary. We give thanks to God that Rev. Smith has agreed to add the spiritual care of our youth and their families to the many ways in which she already shares her gifts in our community of faith. Please join us in welcoming Rev. Smith to our church staff!