Page 37: of Maritime Reporter Magazine (March 2003)
Profile: Dr. Rev. Jean Smith
Smith admits that she always sensed a desire to pursue the Episcopal ministry as her vocation, but felt frustrated, as it could not be realized. The Episcopal
Church did not permit women to ordina- tion until 1977, and luckily Rev. Dr.
Smith was still eligible to attend semi- nary to prepare for the ordination process. "I had sensed a vocation, which could not be realized," she said. "Therefore I felt the way anyone who does not have equal opportunity feels...frustrated. How fortunate I was though that I was at an age (in 1977) where I could still attend seminary and that I was accepted."
Following the completion of her stud- ies at CDSP, Rev. Dr. Smith was ordained by Bishop G.P. Mellick
Belshaw of New Jersey as an Episcopal
Minister, where she began her parish work in 1980 at Trinity Church in
Princeton, N.J., eventually going on to serve as Interim Rector.
After 10 years as the head of this com- munity church, Rev. Dr. Smith accepted the position at SCI as director of the
International Seafarers' Center.
Her successful command led to the installation of the Institute's
International Training for Workplace
Ministry (ITIC), which was formed in 1995 to train and educate port chaplains who service under-served ports around the globe. Three years later, Rev. Dr.
Smith not only created the pastoral serv- ice organization known as Ministry on the River, but received a M.Div and
Doctorate degree from CDSP as well.
It was ultimately her various functions and implementation of programs that undoubtedly led to Rev. Dr. Smith's appointment as the Institute's Managing
Director in March 1999. "SCI was my initial introduction to the industry," she said. "I have been very fortunate to have held different positions in an organiza- tion that has allowed me to know how sister organizations operate, as well as the shipping companies, agents, freight forwarders. So Although it's a new posi- tion, I'm not starting cold."
Rev. Dr. Jean Smith, will have the added task of dealing with the effects of the economic downturn in lower
Manhattan, (where SCI is located), since the tragedy of 9/11. While there does not seem to be any relief in the downward spiral of the current econom- ic state, Rev. Dr. Smith and her staff have already begun to tackle the issue by exploring alternative options. "The mar- ket is down for everyone," she said. "And I think that not-for-profits across the board are looking at limits. It only means that we have to work harder at being innovative and be willing to part- ner with sister organizations."
And as the new Executive Director of the SCI, Rev Dr. Smith's mission state- ment is simple...to have a vision. "Having a vision empowers people," she said. "Expecting and realizing visions are of enormous value as well, and I feel fortunate to be able to lead a group of very skilled people who work to instill that vision."
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March 2003 37