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!


And the Sign Said…

Remember that song, “Signs?” It’s from 1971 by Five-Man Electrical Band. I remember it because my father was a high school teacher and principal who did not like long hair on guys. Male students were always looking for ways to get around the rules the schools set to prevent long hair. My husband tells me…

Churchwide Assemblies are blessings.

I will admit to being an “assembly geek” (for non-Lutherans, our synod assemblies are our annual business meetings). I love attending our synod assemblies: following the discussions, voting, hearing speakers, and seeing colleagues and laypeople I haven’t seen in a year. I’ve also attended three Evangelical Lutheran Church in America assemblies (CWA) as a voting…


Over the years, almost every congregation I’ve visited, or served, declared that they are a welcoming congregation. I only know it’s true if newer members tell me they returned after their first visit because they felt welcomed. It’s good to be welcoming — we greet newcomers as they enter, or maybe after they are seated.…


Find me…