Rev. Joel E. Smit
Rev. Joel Smit is the Senior Pastor of Smyrna Presbyterian Church. Previously, he served as a Pastor with Midway Presbyterian (Powder Springs, GA) for 8 years as their Pastor of Families & Outreach (2008-2015). Pastor Smit also currently serves as a volunteer police chaplain for the Cobb County Police Department.
Pastor Smit graduated from Simpson University (Redding, CA) in 2002 with a BA in Biblical Studies. He attended Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary, receiving his Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree in 2008.
He and his wife Stefanie originate from California and they have four children – Peter (10), Evelyn (8), Alice (5) and Paul (2). They love the parks, restaurants, and active community of Smyrna, Georgia. Joel loves everything sports related and is glad to have Smyrna as the new home for the Atlanta Braves. Go Braves!
Denise Jackson has been Smyrna's Administrative Assistant since May of 2007. She was born in Marietta, GA and has lived in the Cobb/Paulding County area her entire life. She is married to her high school sweetheart Terrence and together they have two children. Denise has a B.A. in Social Science with a concentration in Education and a M.S. in Management. She serves on many ministries and outreach projects in the church and community. When spare time presents itself, you can find Denise and her family at a sporting event or on a bike trail.
James Ogburn (Jim) was raised in the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta. He attended Emory University where he studied vocal performance. Early in his singing career he toured performing at small Opera House throughout Europe. He married dramatic soprano and Marietta native Lisa Burnette in 1978. They have 3 children - William, Matthew, and Stuart. He has been the choirmaster at Smyrna Presbyterian since October 1989. In the choir's repertoire is Handel's Messiah, Mendelssohn's Elijah, Dubois's Seven Last Words of Christ, Saint Saens Chirstmas Oratorio, Honegger's King David as well as many others. Jim's philosophy of church music is that all glory is given to God and we are only the vessel presenting beautiful music to His Glory! Deo Soli Gloria!
Accompanist / Organist
A native of Raleigh, North Carolina, Caleb Houck began playing piano in church at the age of 8. Caleb holds graduate degrees from the University of South Carolina. An active recitalist, he has appeared recently in performances at Steinway Piano Galleries Atlanta, National Center for Civil and Human Rights, City Winery Atlanta, Agnes Scott College Community Orchestra, Kennesaw State University, Georgia State University, Emory University, Brevard Music Center, Interlochen Center for the Arts, Burgos International Music Festival (Spain), and Wiener Musikseminar (Austria). Caleb enjoys The New Yorker, fitness, foreign languages, and cats.
Michele Crooks serves as Nursery Coordinator for Smyrna Presbyterian Church. She grew up in Dayton, Ohio where most of her family still resides. Michele attended Taylor University, a small private Christian college in Indiana, where she earned a BS in Early Childhood Education. She moved to the Atlanta area in 1988 and has remained active in elementary education for over 30 years teaching full and part time, substituting, tutoring and overseeing an after school program. Michele and her husband Scott married in 2000 and have two children. Along with serving at church, Michele homeschools her children, Adam and Paige, and teaches 1st grade one day a week. She enjoys reading, traveling with her family and going to the beach.