• Pastor J. Michael Smith, Lead Pastor

    Michael Smith is the new pastor of Grace United Methodist Church in Salem, Illinois.  His appointment is short-term as the church awaits the arrival of Pastor John Taliwaga, probably near the end of this calendar year.


    Pastor Smith is newly retired after serving 48 years as a United Methodist pastor.  His last appointment was at First UMC in Mattoon, IL.  Prior to that he served 15 years at Urbana Grace Church and 13 years at Glen Carbon-New Bethel.  He has also served churches in Granite City, Carbondale, Carmi, Harpers Ferry (West Virginia), Madison (IL),  and Olney, IL. 

    Mike is married to Jie Wu (they will be married 15 years this October) and together have three grown daughters.


    Mike's ministry has involved such projects as community organizing in the East St. Louis area, creating ministries at the University of Illinois for atheist Chinese scholars, and new approaches to aging persons through an innovative "life review" process and educational workshops.  He has taught administration and strategy for the past four years in the conference's License to Preach School.  He has served on the conference Board of Ministry and chaired the conference's Pastoral Care Committee.  He was also the state chair for Illinois IMPACT (a social justice arm of the Illinois Conference of Churches).  His writing interests include a commentary on Matthew, another book looking at each book of the Bible through the eyes of a veteran pastor, and a novel (of a young pastor who loses his faith in his first church.)  But those writing projects will be delayed while he is serving Salem Grace. 

    Facebook | Twitter | Blog

  • RAE - Pastoral assistant

    Rae grew up in Salem and at GUMC where a strong foundation of faith was developed.  She returned to Salem to be closer to her family after living in the Chicagoland area for 15 years.  Rae holds a B.A. degree in Child, Family & Community Services from the University of Illinois, Springfield, and a M.A. degree in Elementary Education from Greenville College.  Always a helper, Rae has 30 years' experience working in social services with seniors, families and children.  She also has worked in the elemetnary schools as a substitute teacher and as an individual aide with special needs students. Rae is married to Andrew and has three children.  Her hope is to be God's vessel to guide others to serve in God's Kingdom and grow in their relationship with our Lord God and with each other.



    I grew up in Salem, am married with one step-daughter, a daughter and a son.  I went to college in order to pursue a career in accounting.  I have always wanted a career where I would be able to work with numbers and help others.  I found that and more with SGUMC.  Everyone here is kind, thoughtful, and loving.  I feel very blessed that I have been given this opportunity and for the people that I have come to know and care deeply for.

    Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Blog