Bishop’s Reflections

Reflections from Bishop Tim Smith

Epiphany—Pay Attention!

January, 2022

More than 2,000 years ago, a surprising and intriguing new star appeared in our galaxy. Hardly anyone noticed, but some did. This coming Thursday, January 6, 2022, is the Feast of the Epiphany. That which…

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The Re-Gathering Roller Coaster Ride

December, 2021

Just this past week I received seven separate inquiries about the NC Synod Re-Gathering guidelines. They all had a common theme, which I’ll summarize and paraphrase like this: “Hey, we’ve been waiting and watching for…

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Stewardship Season

November, 2021

It’s not recognized as liturgical, but it’s here in most of our congregations nevertheless: Stewardship Season. It usually coincides with another important but less visible season: Budget Time.  For many, neither is among the more…

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Advancing a New Plan

October, 2021

At the beginning of 2021, facing a pandemic and a bishop election, our synod staff shared with Synod Council that there would be a “bishop transition” no matter who was elected. The four-year strategic plan…

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Getting Along

September, 2021

Some of the most amusing moments of my ministry have occurred while interviewing others to work in the various congregations I have served.  “So what interests you in this Administrative Assistant position at our church?”…

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Vaccinations – A Reflection by Bishop Tim

August, 2021

Let each of you look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Philippians 2:4 (NRSV) I learned a tough lesson right after college when I traveled to spend the…

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Free in America, Free in Christ!

July, 2021

“For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” —Galatians 5:1 “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal,…

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God’s Bizarre Draft Strategy

June, 2021

Bishop Assistant Pastor Phil Tonnesen told us in his devotion for our pre-Assembly online meeting that the bishop at his ordination reminded the ordinands that “the Holy Spirit will take you somewhere you do not…

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Love Your Neighbor: Vaccinate!

May, 2021

What do diphtheria, smallpox, hepatitis B, measles, meningitis, mumps, pertussis, polio, rubella, tetanus, tuberculosis, and yellow fever have in common? They have all been eradicated or brought under control by global vaccination programs. The jury…

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May the Odds Be Forever in Your Favor!

April, 2021

Odds of getting a hole in one? 5,000: 1. Odds of being struck by lightning? 567,000: 1. Odds of winning the nearly billion-dollar MegaMillions jackpot this past January? 302, 575,000: 1. I’m curious. How many…

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Sometimes It Is about Me

March, 2021

“See, that’s your problem. You’ve turned this around and made it about you.” So, for no doubt many appropriate and accurate reasons, I’ve been reminded more than once recently about my “privilege talking.” Yep. Guilty….

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Christ icon, Hagia Sophia

Ain’t It the Truth?

February, 2021

The Bible lifts up competing narratives as a foundational human dilemma. While all of creation God proclaims, “very good,” God also warns the first humans that even in paradise there are boundaries, that enhance the…

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Special Delivery

January, 2021

We’re just now wrapping up our 12-day celebration of Mary’s delivery of Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us. First day of Systematic Theology 101 with Dr. Jenson, Gettysburg Seminary, 1983: Who is God? Simple answer: God…

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Hope is Stronger Than Memory

December, 2020

This time of year is so very nostalgic, even sentimental for those of us so charmed or privileged. We long for what was, for our ghosts of happy Christmas Past to visit sooner rather than…

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A Note from the Bishop

November, 2020

To be clear, the Synod Council, Assembly Planning Team, and Bishop’s Election Committee have made no formal recommendations yet about the 2021 NC Synod Assembly, but what I can tell you is that at least…

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Elections’ Directions Reflections

November, 2020

If you’re reading this on November 3, we probably don’t know much if anything yet about how this year’s hotly-contested elections are turning out. What we do know is that elections produce anxiety. Regardless of…

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Church & State 101

October, 2020

A month from now, the 2020 election will be over. As with every election before and yet to come, some will be satisfied, and some will be disappointed. Truthfully, with the extreme polarization that marks…

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Faithful Adaptation

September, 2020

In 586-87 BCE King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon, after a long siege, laid waste the holy city of Jerusalem, destroyed the supposed indestructible temple home of Yahweh and the ark of the covenant, deposed the…

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Sabbatical and why we are so confused

August, 2020

And just like that, it’s August, and my July sabbatical is a memory. While sabbatical is in the NC Synod Compensation Guidelines and I missed my scheduled fall of 2015 sabbatical in Atlanta because of…

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Three notes from the bishop

July, 2020

I want to share three things with you this month: 1) Just a reminder that our NC Synod Re-gathering in-person recommendations are Phase-specific and not date-specific. So, the recommendation is still in effect since the governor…

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Take a deep breath

June, 2020

“I can’t breathe.” So it was for lumps of clay at creation that God called human beings. So God breathed breath into them, animating them, empowering them—in short, giving them life. But not only life…

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Congregations Re-Gathering

May, 2020

Some preliminary thoughts on re-gathering as congregations Bless your hearts, and mine, too! A friend of mine insists that southern cliché is more mannerly code for “You’re pitiful!” Jeff Foxworthy used this example: “I do…

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“The Flowers”

April, 2020

“The Flowers” The rain to the wind said, “You push and I’ll pelt.” They so smote the garden that the flowers actually knelt, And lay lodged, though not dead. I know how the flowers felt….

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Talk too much

March, 2020

I talk a lot. No, really. I know that you know that. I just want you to know that I know that, too. In fact, I spend so much time thinking about what I’m going…

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