Opening Convocation 2022

Opening Convocation for Eden Seminary’s 2022-2023 academic year.
The community gathers for this celebration to mark the beginning of the new academic year.

Students – Faculty- Staff – Board of Trustees – Contextual Education Supervisors – Congregations – Alumni – Families – this celebration is for you!

Join in to support your students and your Seminary. Attend on campus in the Wehrli Chapel of the Press Building (with COVID vaccination and masking). Attend via Zoom (register here for your link).  Join via Facebook live at

Worship Leaders:
Rev. Rebecca Turner, Christ Church UCC, Maplewood
Rev. Monty Jackson, Christ Church UCC, Maplewood

About our preacher(s):
Rev. Rebecca Turner graduated from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and was ordained at Kirkwood Baptist Church in 1986, making waves as the first Southern Baptist woman ordained in the state of Missouri.

Realizing she was not a good fit for the denomination of her childhood, she began serving UCC churches and currently maintains standing in the UCC and DOC. She has kept on making waves.

From 2001-2015, Turner served as the Executive Director of Faith Aloud, an interfaith denomination focused on sexual and reproductive justice. In that role, she was interviewed by Anderson Cooper and Dr. Laura Schlessinger, featured in four documentaries, was the keynote speaker to 500 Latin American abortion providers in Bogota, Colombia, and received the “2010 Person of the Year” Award from the Abortion Care Network. The religious resources she developed through Faith Aloud have been used extensively on at least four continents.

Motivated by the 2014 murder of Michael Brown and the election of 2016, Turner became Pastor at Christ Church UCC in Maplewood with a determination to address white supremacy in the local church. In 2017, Christ Church developed a ministry to their immigrant neighbors and attracted national attention for successfully sheltering Alex Garcia from deportation for 3 and 1/2 years.

At General Synod in 2021, Turner received the “Movement Makers Award” from the United Church of Christ.

As a part of her commitment to reducing white supremacy in the congregation, Turner led Christ Church to add a second Pastor, the Rev. Monty Jackson. Turner and Jackson have since become a songwriting duo, creating new music for weekly worship which speaks from a lens of liberation and justice. Next month, the church will begin its Social Justice Sunday School, with a new curriculum written by Turner

Monty Jackson, a graduate of Eden Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity, is a singer-songwriter, record producer, and arranger, who has produced, written, arranged, and performed with Grammy award, Dove award, and Stellar award-winning artists. Monty himself is a three-time award winner for excellence in music and media (EIM).

Monty is an internationally acclaimed artist who has performed throughout America, Canada, the continents of Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia, the South Pacific Islands, and the Caribbean. He says, “Out of all the places I have performed, no experience compares to singing an American spiritual on the Sea of Galilee.” Monty has also performed at the Sydney Opera House in Australia and is a former member of the Heritage Singers and was on their weekly national television show on the Trinity Broadcast Network (TBN) for four years in the ’80s.

Pastor Monty and his wife, Patti, have two children, Christian and Cetera.