Decades after spending a few years of his childhood on Long Island, the Rev. Pat Smith — a Tennessee native — is back.
Pastor Smith has been interim pastor at Mattituck Presbyterian Church for the past seven months while congregants search for a long-term leader. We spoke with Pastor Smith about his time so far on the North Fork.
Q: What led you to become a minister?
A: Church life was kind of in my blood. But far more than that, I really sensed a very quiet, but very sure nudging that I think was from God to go into pastoral ministry … I love walking alongside people kind of as a spiritual friend and spiritual companion. That means people who are connected to church and people who have no idea what church is all about. I love to find out about their lives and their world and just see where God might be pointing them.
Q: You briefly lived in Nassau County while your father was in the Marines. How has your return to Long Island been?
A: My wife and I, we love that kind of sense of the East End, North Fork culture of tiny villages, rural land. The more quiet and peaceful way of life. And we love the people that we have met, certainly within the church but all throughout the community. We have just been graciously received. A lot of warmth, a lot of genuine connection with people. It’s been a privilege to be out here.
Q: What is your goal for the next two years as you lead the church?
A: It’s the opportunity to step in very purposefully with somebody in place for maybe a couple of years or so while the church celebrates the legacy of George [Gaffga’s] ministry and all that’s gone on, but then looks forward to a newly installed pastor down the road.