An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Smith, John Cotton

(Aug. 4, 1826-Jan. 9, 1882). Nineteenth-century broad churchman. He was born in Andover, Massachusetts. Smith attended Phillips Academy, Andover, and graduated from Bowdoin College in 1847. After studying theology at Kenyon College, he was ordained deacon on May 6, 1849, and priest on Aug. 4, 1850. He began his ministry as rector of St. John's Church, Bangor, Maine, where he served from 1850 until 1852. He then served as assistant minister of Trinity Church, Boston. In 1860 he became the rector of the Church of the Ascension, New York City, where he served until his death. Smith became associate editor of The Protestant Churchman in 1867, and later became the editor. He was committed to the church's mission of social service and was active in ecumenical activities. His book, Improvements of the Tenement House System in New York (1879), was most significant in bringing this issue to the attention of the city's leaders. He taught that the Episcopal Church “offered the best available basis for the unifying of American religion.” Smith was a promoter of the Church Congress, one of the major expressions of the broad church movement. He died in New York City.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.