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The Commission on Ministry has been hard at work the last couple of months and we have a number of opportunities in the coming weeks to celebrate the ministries happening in the Southeast Conference.
Ordination of Tonya Barnett
On August 22, 2021 Tonya Barnett will be ordained at the Church of the Savior in Knoxville as part of their Sunday morning worship. Tonya grew up in Big Stone Gap, VA, and moved to Knoxville to attend the University of Tennessee many years ago. After finding her community at Church of the Savior UCC, she started preparing for ministry – first through the PATHWAYS program, then at Lexington Theological Seminary. After her first year of seminary, she became the Minister for Youth and Children at Church of the Savior and still serves in that capacity. In 2019, she received her Master of Theological Studies from LTS. She lives with her spouse, Poinsettia Byrd, and their fur babies-Sadie and Gigi. Tonya loves books and reading, being outdoors, and interior decorating projects. She is passionate about social justice (especially for our immigrant neighbors and for folks in the LGBTQIA+ community) and believes that teaching and modeling faith-based advocacy and service for our peers and our youth are essential components for bringing change.
Installation of Rev. Dr. Valencia Jackson
On the evening of August 22, 2021 Rev. Dr. Valencia Jackson will be installed in her ministry with individuals living with mental illness at Kirkwood United Church of Christ’s evening worship at 5:00 pm. This service will be a Hybrid Worship with people invited both online and in person. To register to attend in person, please use this form: https://forms.gle/k1txjFcqCh61K4qE8. Please note, registration for in-person participation closes on August 12.
Reverend Dr. Valencia T. Jackson was born in Atlanta Georgia. Reverend Jackson was educated in Atlanta Public Schools. She graduated from Feldwood High School, College Park GA. Reverend Jackson completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Piedmont College, Demorest Georgia. Reverend Jackson earned a master’s degree from The University of Georgia in Social Work. She earned a Master of Divinity Degree from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Jackson earned a Doctor of Ministry Degree from McCormick Theological Seminary, Chicago Illinois.
Reverend Jackson is a Certified Professional Rehabilitation Practitioner. She is a published author. Reverend Jackson has a published sermon in the Review & Expositor Journal entitled, “Confessions of a Shopaholic.” She has written a devotional that can be found in the “Reflections Daily Guide, 120 Daily Devotionals, January – April 2017.
Installation of Rev. Courtney Jones
On September 11, 2021 at 2:00 pm Rev. Courtney Jones will be installed as the pastor of Pilgrimage UCC in Marietta Georgia. The Rev. Courtney Jones grew up in Arkansas, a United Methodist from birth. After graduating from Hendrix College in 2005, she spent a year at Claremont School of Theology before coming out. Knowing she couldn’t be ordained in the church of her birth, Courtney took a year off before transferring to Boston University School of Theology, where she received her Master of Theological Studies degree in 2008. She stayed in Boston, working in a software development company, and she joined Hancock United Church of Christ in Lexington, MA. It didn’t take long before she realized God was, indeed, still speaking—and still calling her to ordained ministry! So she went back to seminary at Andover Newton Theological School, where she received her Master of Divinity in 2014.
Almost immediately after graduation, Courtney was called as Associate Pastor for Children’s Spiritual Formation at Hope Central Church in Jamaica Plain, a neighborhood of Boston. In the five and half years as pastor of Hope Central, Courtney served as associate pastor, Sabbatical Senior Pastor (while the senior pastor was away on sabbatical), and ultimately, her title and role changed to Pastor for Children and Community Life. Ministry is the true calling of her life–she is passionate about living and loving in the way of Jesus, working with people across age, race, nationality, faith (or lack thereof), sexual orientation, and gender expression. Each person is a unique embodiment of the Divine, and together we have the joy and challenge of being the Body of Christ.