Reverend Jen Bailey is a millennial faith leader in a widening movement that is “healing the healers” — sustaining individuals, organizers, and communities for the long, life-giving transformations ahead. She brings particular wisdom and insight into our conversations around justice work and self-care. She finds inspiration from her deep connection with past generations of resilient women and shares her radical hope for the future.
We talk about what life-giving self-care could and should look like, the missional work of Faith Matters, and how we can do a better job integrating what we do inside church walls with what we do in our communities.
“There’s a way in which we’ve commodified self-care to be something that we can purchase and do; then we’re supposed to be healed. I think part of our learning, one of the things we do really well at Faith Matters Network, is creating opportunities for folks just to pause and BE. Not just be something, not do, but just BE.”
Named one of 15 Faith Leaders to Watch by the Center for American Progress, Rev. Jen Bailey is an ordained minister, public theologian, and national leader in the multi-faith movement for justice. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Faith Matters Network, a Womanist-led organization equipping community organizers, faith leaders, and activists with resources for connection, spiritual sustainability, and accompaniment. Jen comes to this work with nearly a decade of experience at nonprofits combating intergenerational poverty. Rev. Bailey is an ordained itinerant elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and serves locally on the staff of Greater Bethel A.M.E. Church in Nashville, TN.
Growing up in the small, mostly white town of Quincy, IL led Jen to find her sense of self in the black church, which led her to interfaith engagement and service work as a college student in Chicago and later to divinity school in Nashville. Her work has been featured on OnBeing with Krista Tippett, CBS This Morning, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and dozens of other publications. She is the author of the new book, To My Beloveds: Letters on Faith, Race, Loss, and Radical Hope.
She enjoys good food, dancing like no one is watching, and road trip adventures with her husband, psychotherapist and religious studies scholar Ira Helderman and baby Max.
Resources We Mention
- Deepa Iyer and the Social Change Ecosystem Map
- God is a Black Woman by Dr. Christena Cleveland
- Red Lip Theology by Candice Marie Benbow
- This Here Flesh by Cole Arthur Riley
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