I am Rev. Dr. Valerie L. Jackson (she, her, hers) and I am an apologetic Womanist homiletician; visionary faith and community leader; and author. As an ordained elder in the United Methodist church, I live into my calling as a voice for uncensored and unconditional love, inclusion, justice and fullness of life for all human beings.
I am a triple threat to oppressive structures: I am a Woman, Black and Queer. In fact, not one part of my sacred identity has been innately welcomed in the United Methodist church or the Church Universal without challenge, protest and advocacy. Therefore, my very existence is radical and revolutionary. Just showing up, I “disrupt our ruptured world.” (words of Mary Donovan Turner) By default, I am often the recipient of harm. But with intentional love, determination, education and prophetic voice, I resist and challenge harm with the hopes of transforming hearts, consciousness, paradigms and practices.
On January 1, 2020, I began a new, dual appointment as Congregational Resource Minister of the Mile-High Metro District of the Mountain Sky Conference and lead pastor of Cameron UMC in Denver. In addition, I am adjunct faculty at the Iliff School of Theology; founder and member of Celie’s New Song; board member for The Center for Health and Hope; and founder/ceo of TripleThreat Ministries a sacred work to empowering women to disrupt the gender status quo by maximizing their potential, fulfilling their purpose and living their dreams.
Herstorically, I have lived into and fulfilled my calling in the following ways: senior pastor of University Park United Methodist Church in Denver; senior pastor of First United Methodist Church of Aurora; preaching pastor for the Abyssinian Christian Church in Fort Collins; academic advisor at the Iliff School of Theology; adjunct faculty with the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, GA; program manager for the Augusta Housing Authority and community resource coordinator for the Department of Family & Children Services in Augusta, GA; community developer for the City of Aiken, South Carolina and the City of Boston and board member for the Colorado Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice. I earned my Doctor of Ministry degree from the Iliff School of Theology with research in Homiletics, Womanist Theology and Black Church Studies. The project title is: A Critical Analysis of Preaching in the National Baptist Convention, USA, Incorporated: The Socio-Cultural and Existential Reality of Women. I have a Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Education from the Interdenominational Theological Center in Atlanta, Georgia; and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Tufts University.
Prior to joining the United Methodist church in 2009, I was the 1st woman licensed to preach and the 1st full time Director of Christian Education at the Beulah Grove Baptist Church in Augusta, Georgia; and co–author with Rev. Dr. Sam Davis of a very practical book in Christian Education entitled “Building Capacity to Build the Kingdom: Shaping the Church through Christian Education”. While seemingly exciting and it was, it is very disheartening that this all happened in 2000, the beginnings of the 21st century. The 21st century!!! Consequently, I join the United Methodist church because I thought, finally, I had found the true meaning and manifestation of Church. When I stepped into Park Hill, my very first United Methodist church in Denver, I saw a place where a strong representation of God’s human creation were present, welcomed, embraced and celebrated: black, white, African, Asian, gay, lesbian, single, married, partnered, young, old, etc… I belonged and it was life-giving and affirming. No human being should accept less than belonging, being loved, respected and celebrated.
So join me and other faithful United Methodists in #ResistHarm. As shared by my colleague, Rev. Izzy Alvaran, “when confronted with injustice, the only recourse is to resist with all the power and might that the Spirit grants us.”