In this episode we talk to Rev. Wilma Jakobsen, the first ordained woman in the Anglican Church of Southern Africa, and an anti-apartheid activist during the worst, and last years, of apartheid South Africa. We not only talk about her story, but we also talk about her reactions to Ferguson, and working through white privilege. We also talk about the future of not only her home country, but of the civil rights movement here in America. What does it mean, as a white person, to be a witness and ally to the experiences of People of Color? What does it mean when we say people are equal in the eyes of God?

Wilma Jakobsen was born in Cape Town, South Africa of immigrant parents from Denmark and Britain. She earned a Bachelor of Science from the University of Cape Town, worked as a high school physical science and math teacher, then came to the United States in 1984 to attend Fuller Seminary, Pasadena.

After obtaining her Master of Divinity from Fuller, she returned to South Africa to be ordained as a deacon. Four years later, when the Anglican Church of Southern Africa finally allowed it, she became the first female priest ordained by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. She worked for 15 years in the Diocese of Cape Town, in parishes in black townships, university towns, the cathedral, a rural parish with fishing and farming communities, and a 19-month stint as chaplain to Archbishop Tutu. During the apartheid years she was an anti-apartheid activist in church and faith based organizations, which crystallized her conviction of the connection between faith and social justice.

In 1997 she obtained a Master of Sacred Theology from Union Theological Seminary, New York. She was the Anglican chaplain at the University of Cape Town for six years, then joined the staff of All Saints Church, Pasadena in 2003, serving most recently as  Senior Associate for Children, Youth & Families, Students & Young Adults.  She is passionate about  the integration of spirituality in all areas of life, and her belief that “ ministry built on a solid basis of prayer, relationships, loving pastoral care, mutual ministry with priest and people as equals, contemplation and action, creativity, Eucharist and social action, can transform people’s lives.”

Links

St. Jude’s Episcopal Church, Cupertino, CA: http://saintjudes.org

Wilma’s Email: wilma@saintjudes.org

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