DANBURY, Conn. -- In a reflection of what has become a new reality for small churches, the congregation of Danbury’s King Street United Church of Christ has appointed its first part-time pastor, according to Steve Fuller, chairman of its search committee.
The Rev. Paul Bryant-Smith of Norwalk will succeed the Rev. Cindy Maddox, who was called to another church two years ago Fuller said.
Pastor Paul, as he is known at King Street, is already part of the church family. He filled in on Sundays after Maddox left, and again after interim Pastor Mary Lou Howson wrapped up her year of service in January.
After Maddox left, the congregation learned to handle much of the church administration, Fuller said.
Although it’s new territory, everyone is optimistic, he said.
“We’ve been learning to fly without the constant support of a full-time pastor for almost two years,” Fuller told the congregation in an announcement. “Paul could help us soar.”
Bryant-Smith holds a full-time position as the director of spiritual care at St. John’s Riverside Hospital in Yonkers, N.Y.
He has a bachelor’s degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he majored in sociology and religious studies. He earned his master of divinity degree from Midwestern Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., and was a post-graduate research fellow at Yale Divinity School.
He has served congregations in Missouri, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and in numerous capacities in association, conference, and national settings of the United Church of Christ.
He has a seat on the Fairfield West Association's Committee on Church and Ministry.
Bryant-Smith has worked as deckhand and historical educator aboard the Freedom Schooner Amistad. He traveled to the West African nations of Sierra Leone and Cape Verde as a part of the vessel’s Atlantic Freedom Tour. He was also a crew member and United Church of Christ representative when the Amistad sailed into Cuba’s Havana Harbor as part of the United Nations’ Slavery Remembrance.
According to the church’s website, Bryant-Smith has also been a farmhand, a waiter, fencing coach, clown, and whitewater canoe instructor. In addition to sailing and travel, he said he enjoys skiing, hiking, kayaking, camping and cooking.
He lives in Norwalk with his wife, Kimberly. Their son, Ian, is a junior at American University, where he is majoring in political science and legal studies.
The church is at 201 S. King St. in Danbury. For more information, go to www.kingstchurch.org .
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