Random Thoughts from a Random Mind

Reflections from a Lutheran pastor, in no particular order!

About Julianne DiRocco Smith

I’m a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and aunt. I was ordained a Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America November 30, 1986. Starting out in the Northwestern Ohio Synod, I’ve served congregations in Ada (home of Ohio Northern University) and Upper Sandusky (nowhere near Lake Erie). In 2010 my husband and I moved to Poland (still in Ohio), outside of Youngstown, where I served Prince of Peace Lutheran for eight years.

In February, 2018 I moved from serving a congregation to serving as Director for Evangelical Mission for the Northeastern Ohio Synod. With a new bishop in 2020 came a new title: Assistant to the Bishop for Congregational Vitality and Director for Evangelical Mission; or, A2BCV and DEM of the NEOS in the ELCA.

My husband Stuart is an hydrogeologist specializing in ground water and water wells. He has a business here in the U.S. and also one in Tanzania. We have two daughters, one granddaughter and one grand-dog. Only our cat Sparkles lives with us.



-We own a water well drilling rig in Tanzania named ‘Shirley’.

-I am a couch potato and enjoy jigsaw puzzles, crossword puzzles, sudoku puzzles, and reading murder mysteries (which are just a different form of puzzles!).

‘Shirley’ and the crew!


What does it mean? Part 3

The second baptismal promise and faith practice is “to hear the word of God and share in the Lord’s supper.” This is near and dear to my heart because I am an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament. In my tradition, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA), this means that I am set apart…

What does it mean to be a Christian? part 2

What does it mean to live among God’s Faithful People? Recently, I was asked this question: “What does it mean to be a Christian?” As I think about it I consider the promises we make in our baptisms. These five promises are often called Faith Practices. The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has created…

What does it mean to be a Christian? part 1

Our Northeastern Ohio Synod has a training program for discipleship that we call The Dandelion Project. We are concluding our first cohort’s two year event and just beginning our second cohort, cleverly entitled, The Dandelion Project, Too! We chose the image of a dandelion because each part of a dandelion has uses. The taproot goes…


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