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 Revd. Ian Smart

Ian escaped from Birmingham, the city of his birth, not long after his 18th birthday – when he went to go and study Computer Science. Thus began a career that took him from humble beginnings in the IMI Computing payroll team, to eventually being a Senior Technical Evangelist and Database Performance Engineer for Sybase based in Emeryville, CA (in the USA). During his time in IT Ian achieved a number of noticeable firsts; he built the world’s first 1Tb database, ran the world’s first parallel geospatial database query, and built up a reputation as a public speaker on database performance issues that resulted in him speaking at conferences across the USA and Europe, China, Australia and Middle East. He wrote for a couple of magazines and authored a number of papers of the performance characteristics of Sybase databases. His final IT talk was the Keynote Technical address at the Sybase Techwave conference in San Diego in 2001 where he spoke for 90 minutes to 4,000 people on the future of mobile trading, complete with a demo that he and his team had built – a show which not only won an award but which, just for once, accurately foresaw where mobile IT was going.  

On leaving the IT world, having been accepted by the Methodist Church as an probationer presbyter, Ian studied at Wesley College Bristol, with a short spell at Reutlingen College in Germany, eventually obtaining a first class honours degree in Theology. He was originally stationed in the Cambridge Circuit, before moving to Bolton in 2009. He was the secretary of the Joint Liturgical Group for six years, and is a life member of the Methodist Sacramental Fellowship. Ian is the chair of the charity UNCLE which is responsible for two orphanages in Kathmandu and funds five pastors and three churches, one of which cares for two communities of refugees. Along with Sue Snowden, Ian presents the “Spirit of Bolton” show on Bolton FM on a Sunday evening. His passions are making the worship of Jesus Christ relevant and meaningful, coming up with creative worship that allows people to connect with God in a personal way, and using technology in worship in appropriate ways. Musically he can bore you on his love of Alter Bridge, Black Stone Cherry, Marillion, Dream Theater, Yes, and a whole range of heavy metal and progressive bands you have never heard of. Ian is married to Karen, and has two wonderful daughters – and is probably best known in Bolton as “that guy who works with Baa the Sheep!!”.