A Homecoming For A Texas Transplant
People talking with Elmhurst Presbyterian Church’s new minister may be surprised to hear her conversation sprinkled with “y’alls” or by her ability to switch seamlessly into Spanish. Though she has just arrived from a multi-year stint in San Antonio, pastor Traci Smith is at home in the western suburbs, having grown up in Batavia and previously served a church in Naperville.
“Elmhurst is the geographic center of the Chicago area,” says Pastor Smith. “It offers exceptional opportunities but also serves people who are confronted with a variety of challenges. For example, one of the programs that drew me to Elmhurst Presbyterian was its PADS program.” The church serves as a homeless shelter on Saturday nights from fall through spring. “A number of Elmhurst churches join with us in taking turns to provide meals and overnight attention to guests, as well as by cleaning up in the morning. It is exciting to host an initiative that so many people in Elmhurst support.”
Even since the days when pastor Smith served as a youth minister in Glen Ellyn, she’s observed how busy families have become. She and her husband experience that with their own family, with two sons in elementary school and a preschool daughter. Seeing how difficult it can be to include church activities in already busy schedules inspired her to write Faithful Families: Creating Sacred Moments At Home, a book featuring practical suggestions for bringing faith to life at home.
“We really do need to move past ‘soccer-shaming’ people who can’t always attend conventional services. Even with a church that’s across the street from York High School, it is important to meet people when and where they are, which could be in a coffee-shop or even online.”
Pastor Smith and her family have settled in Elmhurst, where she and her husband are delighted with the outstanding schools.