Jody Parsons grew up in New Jersey and Minnesota, moving to California in 1972. She experienced a loving childhood with her parents, Joan and Lon Parsons, and her sisters, Julie and Susan, as well as grandparents and extended family in Connecticut and Philadelphia. Coming of age in the sixties, she discovered the importance of the church as a meaningful place to explore faith, community and social justice.
She has been involved in social change through the church and non-profit organizations for over four decades. A theme for her life could be “service through administration”, as she is someone who loves organization and project management.
Jody attended Northwestern University and graduated from Macalester College in 1972. She received her M.Div. degree from Pacific School of Religion in 1977. In 1978 she was ordained by the Golden Gate Association of the Northern California-Nevada Conference together with Stacy Cusulos and Loey Powell in a community process emphasizing that ministry exists in and through community.
She started her career at the intersection of church and society as the Director of the Northern California Interfaith Committee on Corporate Responsibility in San Francisco, organizing church institutions to speak truth to multi-national corporations about such topics as their involvement in apartheid in South Africa, exploitation of workers in the Philippines, and income inequality in U.S. workplaces. She subsequently served as Co-Pastor at College Community Congregational Church in Fresno. She then moved into a career in non-profit and public administration, as the Contra Costa County Manager for the United Way of the Bay Area, as the Alcohol and Drug Programs Administrator for the Monterey County Department of Health, and as the Chief of Staff for two Monterey County Fifth District Supervisors. She was also the Development Director for family service agency Brighter Beginnings in the San Francisco East Bay and Project Manager for the Director of the Center for Environmental Health, which helps to lead the growing nationwide effort to protect people from toxic chemicals.
She retired in 2014 and currently lives in Carmel with her husband, Richard Wong, a former biology professor and retired physical therapist. She enjoys walking, reading, experimenting with vegan and Indian-inspired recipes, and spending time with her adult stepdaughters, Sita, Xian, Kellie and Stacie and their families, who live nearby.
As lifelong seekers, Jody and Rich enjoy membership in UCC churches, a dedication to Transcendental Meditation, and being part of a community which takes spiritual pilgrimages to sacred sites around the world. Jody and Rich started a retirement business in 2015, Aum Sacred Art, featuring handcrafted Vedic-inspired jewelry, for the benefit of health and education for women and children.
(This biographical statement provided by Jody Parsons.)
United Church of Christ/Congregational Church | Women and Religion | Powell, Loey | Pacific School of Religion (Berkeley, CA) | Ordination/clergy | California | Cusulos, Stacy | Parsons, Jody