Theologian, activist, teacher, mother and lesbian are all words that describe Bishop Jacquelyn Holland. Born the second eldest of seven children, Bishop Holland learned early on that the strict rules of her Pentecostal faith did not mix well with her yearning for a more freeing experience with God, which would allow for an authentic connection of both sexuality and spirituality.
In an effort to satisfy her spiritual needs as well as her love for music, she joined Lavender Light: The Black and People of all Colors Lesbian and Gay Gospel Choir. Through this affiliation, God led her to join the newly formed Unity Fellowship Church of NYC, where she served as assistant pastor. In April 2008 then Elder Holland was ordained as one of the first women Bishops in the Unity Fellowship Church Movement.
In 1995 Bishop J. Holland became the founding Pastor of Liberation In Truth Unity Fellowship Church. Through that ministry Bishop Holland also established Loving in Truth, an HIV/AIDS education and prevention program and The Open Door Drop-In Center, which serves the homeless by providing showers, laundry service, HIV counseling, testing and case management. Having set the groundwork for a safe and affirming place for LGBTI&Q persons of color to worship, the then Reverend Holland was consecrated Elder in 1998.
Based in Charlotte, NC Bishop Holland now serves as Bishop of Jurisdiction 3, ( southern region) In the Unity Fellowship Church Movement which includes: Columbia, Md, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA and Charleston SC . She is responsible for the Office of Training and Development, which addresses the theological and ecumenical development of the clergy within the denomination, as well as workshops for national meetings. The Office of Health and Wellness, which seeks to develops programs and access to services that build mental and physical health of the clergy and laity.
As an avid believer in the equality, freedom and liberation of all people regardless of gender identity, race, or sexual orientation, Bishop Holland has served faithfully in the Unity Fellowship Church Movement for more then 20 years. During this time, she has provided training and mentorship for numerous clergy. Many of these clergy, who are currently serving in the UFCM, have had the privilege of sharpening their gifts under her tutelage.
Bishop Holland is the recipient of numerous awards and accolades for her decades of service in the Newark, N.J. community. Her awards include Community Service Awards presented by the Celtic Pride organization of New Jersey, The Sacrificial Living Award presented by Unity Fellowship’s Arch Bishop Carl Bean, The Mable Hampton Award, The Audre Lorde Womyn of Faith Award and many others.
In her role as a member of the UFCM House of Bishops, Bishop Holland unapologetically, espouses the radical message of God’s unconditional love and liberation throughout the southern region. Bishop Holland passionately encourages the churches in jurisdiction 3, to be agents of change by consistently increasing their community involvement and fighting for social justice. She also plans to establish new works both nationally and globally in the areas of education, leadership development/training, physical and mental wellness.
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