Churches share bonds

Published 9:02 pm Wednesday, September 9, 2015

By Merle Monahan

Special to the News-Herald


When Amanda “Mandy” Smith enrolled in college after high school, her intention was to become a teacher.

But God had other plans for her.

Through her church mission program as a youth leader from Somerton Friends Meeting, from which she traveled to other countries — including 11 trips to Jamaica — she grew to love her involvement in the program more and more.

Amanda “Mandy” Smith

Amanda “Mandy” Smith

“I began to feel that this was what I was destined to do,” she said. “Finally, I was sure that God was leading me into the ministry.”

Smith transferred to John Wesley College in High Point, N.C., where she graduated in 2007. By then she already had served one year at a church in North Carolina.

“This is how it all began,” said the newest pastor of Corinth Friends Meeting near Berlin, which she describes as a “little church with a membership of about 40.”

Before coming to Corinth in 2011, Smith served as the full-time youth pastor at Holly Spring in Randolph County, N.C. Corinth is her second pastorate.

“I really love this church,” said Smith, who fondly calls it the “Little Church with a Big Heart.”

“The people are so friendly and compassionate and are always looking for ways to help others, especially in the community.”

The church, one of the oldest in the area, was established in 1882 and has continued to hold services ever since. Aside from weekly Sunday School and worship services, there are Wednesday evening Bible studies and a children’s ministry.

Then there are the charities and missions the church supports.

Corinth supports several organizations, including Franklin Cooperative Ministries, MOWA Choctaw Friends Center, Jamaica Vacation Bible School, Friends Theological College and Operation Christmas Child, among others.

“We’re in the midst of Operation Christmas Child right now,” the young pastor said, adding that she and her dad — who lives in Suffolk and attends Somerton Friends Meeting — started the OCC at Corinth.

Smith explained the fundraiser.

The Corinth-sponsored motorcycle ride outreach fundraiser this year, called the Shoebox Ride, will be held at Somerton Friends Meeting, 5239 Quaker Drive, on Saturday, “because there is more space there,” Smith said.

Riders pay an entry fee, which includes lunch and a door prize. All proceeds go to Operation Christmas Child.

The ride begins at Somerton at 10:30 a.m., with registration at 9, and it ends there at noon.

Smith is excited about her church and hopes it will grow both spiritually and in membership.

“Our doors are open to anyone who wishes to join us for worship and to hear God’s word,” Smith added.