Rev. Jessica Purple Rodela

Rev. Jessica Purple RodelaJessica grew up in the Canal Zone, Panama, during the tumultuous sovereignty negotiations of the 1970’s. Her family returned to Texas in 1979. Over the years, Jessica has lived in Virginia, Hawaii, and California. Before entering the ministry, she worked variously as a high school English teacher, a freelance writer, and a logistics analyst. She graduated in 2008 from Meadville Lombard Theological School, our Unitarian Universalist seminary in Chicago. Discouraged by the unilateral approach to “anti-racism” work there, she created The Kaleidoscope Initiative, an alternative forum featuring voices of diversity.

She has earned a number of honours, including the Murry Intern Scholarship, the St. Lawrence Foundation Essay Award, and a Borden Sermon Award for her sermon “Can’t We All Get Along? Loving Your (Political) Opponent.” While serving as the intern minister at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Buffalo in 2007, she authored word portraits to accompany photographs of LGBT families for the “Equal Measure: Portraits of Love” exhibit which has been displayed in a dozen venues in the effort to win marriage equality for New Yorkers. Today, Rev. Jess proudly serves as settled minister to Grand River Unitarian Congregation in Kitchener Ontario.