Corinth Friends pastor happy at her job

Published 9:47 am Friday, September 4, 2015

By Merle Monahan/Contributing Writer

When Amanda “Mandy” Smith enrolled in college after high school, her intention was to become a teacher.

But God had other plans for her.

Through her church mission program as a youth leader from Somerton Friends Meeting, from which she traveled to other countries — including 11 trips to Jamaica — she grew to love her involvement in the program more and more.

Amanda Smith is the pastor of Corinth Friends Meeting. -- Merle Monahan | Tidewater News

Amanda Smith is the pastor of Corinth Friends Meeting. — Merle Monahan | Tidewater News

“I began to feel that this was what I was destined to do,” she said. “Finally, I was sure that God was leading me into the ministry.

Smith said she transferred to John Wesley College in High Point, North Carolina, which of course resulted in her having to change states as well to prepare for the ministry. She graduated from JWC in 2007. By then she had already served one year at a church in North Carolina

“This is how it all began,” said the newest past of Corinth Friends Meeting near Berlin. Last month marked the fourth year the young wife and mother of two has led the “little church with a membership of about 40,” she said.

Before coming to Corinth in 2011, Smith served as the fulltime Youth Pastor at Holly Spring in Randolph County, North Carolina. Corinth is her second pastorate.

“I really love this church,” said Smith, who fondly calls it the ‘Little Church with a Big Heart.’

“The people are so friendly and compassionate and are always looking for ways to help others, especially in the community.”

The church, one of the oldest in the area, was established in 1882 and has continued to hold services ever since. Aside from weekly Sunday School and worship services, there are Wednesday evening Bible studies and a children’s ministry.

Then there are the charities and missions the church supports.

In seeking ways to help those outside the church, Smith said, Corinth has committed to supporting several organizations, including Franklin Cooperative Ministries, MOWA Choctaw Friends Center, Jamaica Vacation Bible School, Friends Theological College and Operation Christmas Child, among others.

“We’re in the midst of Operation Christmas Child right now,” the young pastor said, adding that she and her dad — who lives in Suffolk and attends Somerton Friends Meeting — started the OCC at Corinth.

Smith explained the fundraiser.

“Our members donate such things as school supplies and personal items to fill Christmas shoeboxes all during the year. Then in September we have an event to raise money for the things we are short on to fill the boxes, which are distributed to those in need in November.”

The Corinth-sponsored motorcycle ride outreach fundraiser this year, called the Shoebox Ride, will be held at Somerton Meeting, 5239 Quaker Drive, Suffolk on Saturday, September 12, “because there is more space there,” Smith said.

She said riders pay an entry fee, which includes lunch and a door prize. All proceeds go to OCC.

“The ride, which begins and ends at Somerton, will begin at 10:30 a.m. and end at noon. Registration begins at 9 a.m.

Smith, who with her husband, John, and children Logan, 4, and Lydia, 2, lives in the church parsonage across the road from the church. She maintains an office in the Corinth Community House adjacent to the church.

She is excited about her church and hopes it will grow both spiritually and in membership.

“Our doors are open to anyone who wishes to join us for worship and to hear God’s word,” Smith added.