The Seamen’s Church Institute Trustees and staff paid tribute to its outgoing Executive Director, the Rev. Jean R. Smith, DD, with a Celebration of Ministry Service at Trinity Church Wall Street and a reception at SCI’s headquarters. Dr. Smith retired at the end of September.
The Rt. Rev. Mark S. Sisk, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of New York and Honorary Chairman of SCI’s Board of Trustees, gave the homily.
The first woman to lead the 173-year-old maritime institution, Dr. Smith was responsible for the largest independent maritime- oriented non-profit in North America for six years.
With the Institute since 1990, Dr. Smith was SCI’s Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer as well as its Director of the Center for Seafarers’ Services. In 1998, she created the innovative Ministry on the River program, which provides hospitality and pastoral care to mariners from Pittsburgh to New Orleans to the Gulf Region with the aid of three SCI chaplains, and over 100 ecumenical River Friendly Churches.
“We quickly became aware of her leadership qualities, great communication skills and ability to connect with everyone from the seafarer in need to the CEO with a concern,” said George M. Isdale Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Institute since 2004. “Jean continued to blaze trails as creator of the innovative Ministry on the River Program and Managing Director of the Institute for five years. True to our expectations, when Jean became Executive Director six years ago, she continued to build the Institute into the largest maritime service agency of its kind in North America. Jean is extraordinary. Her accomplishments are vast, her commitment unparalleled and her character commendable. Her dedication has been a source of inspiration to staff, the SCI board, maritime colleagues and countless mariners.”