Bishop of Arizona
The Right Reverend Kirk Stevan Smith, Ph.D, D. D.
Kirk Stevan Smith was elected the Fifth Bishop of Arizona on Oct. 18, 2003 at All Saints’, Phoenix. He was consecrated at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Phoenix on April 24, 2004 and seated on Oct. 15, 2004 at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.
Bishop Smith was born in Soap Lake, Washington on June 6, 1951 the first of two sons of the Rev. Richard and Harriet Smith. His early life was spent in New Jersey, while his father served at the Presbyterian Church National Headquarters in Manhattan. The family then moved to Phoenix where he attended grades 7-12.
While earning his baccalaureate in history at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, Smith broke from his family tradition and was received into the Episcopal Church. Smith went on to earn his Ph.D. in medieval church history from Cornell University in 1976, having spent an academic year at Oxford University studying and writing his thesis. He then studied for holy orders at the Berkeley Seminary at Yale, was deaconed in 1979, and ordained a priest in 1980, through the auspices of his home diocese of Arizona.
Smith served two parishes in Connecticut after ordination-as assistant at St. John’s West Hartford and as rector of St. Ann’s, Old Lyme. The next call came from St. James’ Church in Los Angeles, where he moved with his wife and two small children, Jordan and Nathaniel, in the spring of 1991.
St. James’ Church was a complete change from all his other life experiences. A large urban, multicultural parish with a school (K-6), but conflicted and under-performing. St. James’ grew and thrived as Smith applied his innate energy and honed his vision of what the parish could become. The school, always strong, completed a $3 million capital campaign, and the music program became world-class under Smith’s leadership. Parish membership continued to expand more deeply into the Nigerian, Korean, and Anglo communities.
During his tenure at St. James’ Church, Smith taught Anglican history at the Episcopal Seminary at Claremont, served as Diocesan Ecumenical Officer, and was made an honorary Canon of the Cathedral of the Diocese of Los Angeles. Smith was remarried in 1996, to Laura Fisher Smith, a graphic designer.
Bishop Smith received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree in October 2005, from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale.
His weekly letter can be read at: http://www.azdiocese.org/