DENMARK, S.C. (courtesy voorhees.edu) — Voorhees University welcomed Corey Smith as the new dean of Chapel and Spiritual Engagement on July 19. Smith is a recent graduate of Virginia Theological Seminary and serves as a member of its Justice and Reconciliation Society Alumni Stewardship Board. He has worked in various capacities in faith-based congregations for more than 25 years.
“My top priority is to invite the students and parishioners to be open to God and to think deeply about their faith within the context of a seemingly, ever-evolving world,” said Smith, who is also the new Lay Vicar of Saint Philip’s Chapel.
“Dean Smith is the ideal servant leader for our spiritual engagement program at Voorhees. He brings a wealth of knowledge, talent, compassion, and creativity to this new role,” said Ronnie Hopkins, president of Voorhees University. “We look forward to working with him as we build the Becoming Beloved Community and prepare our students to excel in every aspect of their lives.”
Smith plans to work diligently to get students excited about attending chapel and spiritual engagement. “I want to help them recognize the power and freedom that comes from embracing exactly who God has created them to be, never being embarrassed or ashamed of their individual distinctness,” he said. “This individualistic understanding will help them find their places as co-creators within the spiritual community. I hope this excites them.”
As he embarks upon this new role, Smith sees possibilities. “I will not do anything without a period of spiritual discernment and seeking the wisdom of my elders. I look forward to understanding the culture of Voorhees University and the broader community,” he said. “President Hopkins is a visionary, and I look forward to doing new things here, building upon the university’s rich tradition and shaping visionary leaders/thinkers who do the same.”
Although this is Smith’s first time living in a rural community, he believes in meeting people where they are and helping them grow. He plans to employ that philosophy as he builds the town and gown relationship in Denmark.
“I hope to help build the Beloved Community with the local government and its residents, developing leaders who can take the lessons learned from these experiences to help create healthy systems and institutions for the communities they will serve in the future,” Smith said.
A University of Georgia alumnus, Smith has also studied at Morehouse College and Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. He is a recipient of the Ecology and Theology certificate from the Washington Theological Consortium and a member of the inaugural cohort of the Faith + Justice Academy at Georgetown University. He is also a member of a 20-time Telly award-winning team, The Hope TV.
Smith hopes to work to combat inequities that reside at the intersection of faith, justice, and economics and advocate for those struggling with homelessness, food insecurity, and against human trafficking. He also plans to help train the next generation of servant leaders to utilize the power of media for spiritual formation and in the transformation of systems, society, and institutions.