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Sunday, August 22, 2021, was a special day in the life of the Southeast Conference, as we ordained, and then installed, Rev. Tonya Barnett, and installed Rev. Dr. Valencia Jackson.
Rev. Barnett was ordained into Christian ministry, then installed officially as the Minister for Youth and Children at Church of the Savior in Knoxville, TN. 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. 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.
Rev. Dr. Jackson was installed in her ministry as CEO with Traime Behavioral Health, an organization that works with individuals living with mental illness, and also in covenant with Kirkwood UCC in Atlanta. Valencia was born in Atlanta Georgia and educated in the Atlanta Public Schools. She graduated from Feldwood High School, College Park GA. Rev. Jackson completed her undergraduate degree in Sociology from Piedmont College, Demorest Georgia, and she then 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.