Trinity Episcopal Church names interim rector


Rev. Dr. Leslie Smith

Trinity Episcopal Church in Southport has seen its share of troubles. Last year’s storm wiped out the nursery school and it took the better part of the year to rebuild the space. Adding to that, this summer saw the end of an eight-year stint by Rector Nicholas T. Porter.

But, change can be a good thing. Trinity is now seeing the effects of that with their newest interim rector, the Rev. Dr. Leslie Smith, who will be facilitating the search for a permanent rector for the next several months.

“People welcome an Interim Rector because they feel the need for it during a transition,” Smith said. “[My] task is to sustain the church in good health and prepare the way for new elected leadership.”

He said he has been impressed with strength of the church staff and lay leadership, particularly the Vestry members. Through trying times, the church has remained a unified group and he is very optimistic about the future.

“I am honored to be asked to serve in this leading parish, ministering to the people and community of Southport and its neighbors,” Smith said.

Smith served 16 years as rector of Princeton’s Trinity Church, the largest Episcopal church in New Jersey, with outreach and a music program. He retired from Trinity a few years ago and has since held three interim positions as rector at Christ Church in Short Hills, N.J., then at Calvary Church in Stonington, followed by a year as associate rector at St. Luke’s in Darien.

During his career, Smith served as archdeacon of the Diocese of Newark, the assistant to Bishop John S. Spong. Prior to that, he was rector of Christ Church in Glen Ridge, N.J., following posts in Washington, D.C., and Massachusetts.

Smith is a graduate of the Virginia Seminary and has also been awarded a doctor of divinity degree by Virginia in recognition of his strong work in parish ministry.

Smith and his wife, Lois, have five children and 17 grandchildren, including family in Fairfield.

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