Wilma Jakobsen

Women’s Ordination History Project: Wilma Jakobsen

On July 29, 2014, the Episcopal Church will celebrate the 40th anniversary of the ordinations of the first women as priests. To observe that anniversary, we reached out to women who have served at ASC over the last forty years — as well as those who have been sponsored for ordination and gone on to serve elsewhere — to share their stories. Here is one of them:

Wilma Jakobsen

Almost 30 years ago, I came to the USA and Pasadena to go to Fuller Seminary. On my second Sunday in Pasadena, I walked into All Saints Church on Homecoming Sunday. When I saw that there were two women priests on staff and a multiplicity of social justice projects, I knew that I had come home.

I had many people telling me I should become a priest, but Southern Africa, my Anglican church home, did not yet ordain women as priests back in 1984. A year later as I waited for church to begin one Sunday, a thought as clear as a bell came to me: “If Frannie (Hall) can do this, why can’t I?” I knew that I had to explore this. I spent the next two years on an exciting journey of discernment that took me back to South Africa when Bishop Desmond Tutu became Archbishop, and eventually to ordination as a priest in Cape Town in 1992.

All Saints Church was central to my vocational journey. I found my vocation there.  I was supported in the difficult days of apartheid struggle there, and encouraged in my struggle for ordination there.

Fifteen years after ordination in South Africa, I returned to All Saints to join the clergy staff. This was a dream of mine come true! My vocational journey came full circle. I treasure the almost ten years I spent on staff. I treasure the relationships with staff and parishioners. All Saints Church is indelibly in my heart and my life. I thank God for the gift you all have been in my life and in my ministry. I thank God for the women priests in the Episcopal Church who inspired my own journey. I thank God for the journey with you all.

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MaryAlice Raabe

I thank Wilma for telling Wendy Claire Barrie…”Pray, just pray” so that WBC could tell me that one time when I was stumbling with a difficult situation. “Pray, just pray” has been a touchstone for me since then!

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