Jackie Utley was the first African American to be ordained in the ELCA in South Carolina. Jackie received her Master of Divinity degree from Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, S.C., in 2009. From 2011 to 2013, Jackie served as assistant minister at Ascension Lutheran Church in Columbia, a primarily White congregation in a formerly all-White community. Following the retirement of their senior pastor, the congregation called Jackie to be their new senior pastor, and on June 2, 2013, Jackie was ordained at the ELCA South Carolina Synod Assembly in Charleston.

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