Rev. Diana Smith
Rev. Diana Smith moved to Iowa City and began her settled ministry at UUS in August 2020. Beginning a ministry in the midst of a pandemic, devastating storms, and uprisings is challenging, and yet she is delighted to be here and building a shared ministry with UUS. As UUS’s minister, she is responsible for worship and pastoral care, coordinates with UUS’s justice teams and public ministries, and serves as head of staff.
As she begins her tenure at UUS, Rev. Diana is actively inventing new ways for the congregation to thrive, even as she embraces the responsibility of overseeing a congregation doing its part to keep itself and others safe from the coronavirus. Her key goal this year is to help lead UUS to survive in a way that is grounded in and reflects our values, our love, and our call to live love ever more fully and fiercely into the world.
This means that we support each other with love and care along the way, that we do what we can so that no one gets sick because of us, and that we continue our internal and external justice work, which is inherent to who we are and to our faith. This means engaging creatively within and outside the congregation. It also means cultivating a culture of openness and appreciation: to connect in new ways, to fill needs, to act for justice, to get grounded, to develop our spirituality, to move, to create art, to connect with nature, and to engage across generations and other differences.
Before coming to UUS, Rev. Diana served as a interim minister at Woodinville UU Church, northeast of Seattle, as ministerial intern at First Church Boston, completed her Master of Divinity at Andover Newton Theological School near Boston, MA. During her ministerial training she also received certificates in spiritual and pastoral care and in interfaith leadership, as well as doing a chaplaincy internship in Davenport, IA.
This follows an environmental career in the Pacific Northwest for almost 15 years, specializing in projects that brought together and advocated for ethnically, linguistically, and geographically diverse communities. She was also deeply engaged as a volunteer crisis interventionist for 10 years. Her work in these two areas gave her deep experiences with racial justice, as well as skills dealing with the kinds of social isolation and trauma that are currently affecting everyone during the pandemic. She also holds a Master of Arts in Planning and a Bachelor’s in Psychology.
Rev. Diana grew up in Dallas, Texas. Her mother, who is from Iowa, returned to the Davenport area about 20 years ago and has now joined Rev. Diana in Iowa City, while her older sister’s family lives in Ames. Her younger sister’s family is in San Diego. Rev. Diana is an weaver and ceramic artist, has practiced yoga for almost 20 years, and loves hiking with her dog and kayaking or bicycling without her dog.