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Ellen Smith

Mission co-worker based in the States, serving Central and Eastern Europe

Serving as Regional Liaison for Central and Eastern Europe

Contact: Ellen Smith (

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Ellen is periodically in the USA. Email her to extend an invitation to visit your congregation or organization.

Ellen’s husband, Alan, ended mission service in September 2020.

About Ellen Smith’s ministry

As regional liaison for Eastern Europe, Ellen Smith facilitates Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) support for partner programs, relationships and activities and will implement Presbyterian World Mission strategy. She also supports PC(USA) mission personnel in communications, information sharing, mentoring/guiding, and missiological reflection. Ellen has now taken on Alan’s work with the Roma people and indigenous peoples. In addition, she facilitates a congregational twinning program, pairing U.S. Presbyterian congregations with congregations in Russia.

Ellen and her ministry partners are committed to breaking down barriers that divide people. Ellen likes to tell of the reconciliation efforts of Father Vladimir Klimzo, an Orthodox priest who serves in the small Russian village of Davydovo. Father Vladimir is involved with a ministry with special needs children and their families. “These families so often feel like outcasts in a society that for 70 years institutionalized those with special needs,” Ellen says. “People are not used to seeing them and too often react unkindly.” In order to protect children from insults, the parents often isolate themselves and their children. Father Vladimir wants to change that, so he is reaching out to children with cerebral palsy, blindness and deafness.

Ellen arranged for Father Vladimir and other Russians engaged in special needs ministries to visit programs in Germany that serve people with special needs. She is also seeking specialists and other resources from the United States that will help them develop their model. Father Vladimir has a small farm that he hopes will someday provide employment for people with special needs. He already has acquired 35 head of cattle. “We ask for your prayers for this developing ministry; that their steps would find solid ground, guided by the Holy Spirit and that others might join them in the journey,” Ellen says.

Regional context

When communism fell in the late 20th century, the freedom for Christians in Eastern Europe to practice their faith was greatly expanded. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has accepted the invitation of several of the region’s historic churches to accompany them in this new chapter of ministry. Expanded freedoms have helped Eastern Europe recover a rich and diverse history, but they have also brought to the forefront many ethnic and nationalistic tensions that were repressed when the region was dominated by the Soviet Union. Ellen and other mission co-workers are helping PC(USA) partner churches in the region in ministries that seek to move Eastern Europe beyond those historic tensions toward a more harmonious future.

About Ellen Smith

For several years, Ellen’s ministry in Russia has included facilitating relationships between U.S. Presbyterian congregations and Russian congregations. This program of twinning congregations has strengthened congregations in both countries, they say. It also makes a positive statement about the gospel’s ability to overcome barriers.

“When we come together across so many boundaries, the unity we have in Christ is transformative,” Ellen says. “The witness we share with non-believers when Russian and American Christians work together as servants in camps, orphanages, outreach, drug rehabilitation, family ministries and other projects is powerful.”

Prior to entering mission service, Ellen was a secondary school teacher in North Carolina. She earned an undergraduate degree from Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota.

Ellen is ordained to the ministries of ruling elder and deacon and she is a member of MacPherson Presbyterian Church in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Ellen and her husband, Alan, are the parents of three adult daughters, Allison and Margaret, and Emma.

Ellen – April 16
Al – December 18
Allison – December 14
Margaret – November 8
Emma – October 9