Chaplain Donna B. Smith

Chaplain Donna B. Smith serves as the chaplain to Greensville Correctional Center’s S2 Unit. Pastoring in Jarratt, Rev. Smith serves Lebanon United Methodist Church as well.  Chaplain Donna Smith began her service with the GraceInside family on September 1, 2015, but she has long been a friend of prison ministry.  Experienced in Kairos and with a history of prison volunteer, Rev. Smith, recently assumed responsibilities for a Methodist church right next door to Greensville Correctional Center 


Rev. Donna B. Smith first got involved with prison ministry when her District Supervisor came to her and said, “So, have you ever considered being a prison chaplain?”  She explains, “When God speaks, I always say, “Yes!”  I have learned to always say yes to God, which has landed me in a few strange places.  My first appointment was a Korean church – and I don’t speak Korean.  God has a sense a humor.  I became the pastor for the English speaking part of the congregation.  I just keep saying yes – and this city girl moved into the country.  And, now I am in a prison – a men’s prison no less!”

New to the job September 2015, Chaplain Smith shares that the residents have already touched her heart, “from the joy at Sunday night worship, to the helpfulness at getting me settled into my office to the protectiveness they have already shown for me.  These guys aren’t animals and they aren’t monsters.  There may be some like that but, in general, I am finding mutual respect.  She hopes by showing them the face of Christ, I hope to help them realize that Christ is with them where they are.”

With a military history, being a woman in a male environment is nothing new to Chaplain Smith.  In fact, she is one of the first two women stationed at the Reserve Unit Air Station in Memphis, Tennessee.  While she says that was many moons ago, the experience has trained her well for God’s call in her life.  Two years active, and 13 in reserve, she left the military to pursue her calling in another direction.  She also served 20 years at the Eastern Virginia Medical School.  “God knew I was having a hard time letting go and stepping out into faith in ministry.  Next thing I know, my job was outsourced!”  Ministry, here she comes!

When not a prison chaplain or a parish pastor, Chaplain Smith likes to read, kayak and take care of her critters.  She is down to one dog and two cats… always open to new family members.  “If the parsonage committee would allow me to fence in the yard, I would have horse!” says the city girl.  “I’m the one who got bucked off the horse last year and broke my pelvis.”  Having healed, she is already looking forward to her next ride.

We can’t give you a horse, Chaplain Smith, but we can guarantee you are in for one amazing ride.