Rev. Anna Fleming-Jones is a native Mississippian and an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church. For the last ten years she has served congregations around the state, and this June she was appointed by the Mississippi Conference to serve the mission of Faith in Women. Anna lives in Jackson, Mississippi with her husband and 3-year-old son.
Q: Welcome to Faith in Women! Tell us a little about yourself.
A: I’m a United Methodist pastor and throughout my ministry I have spent a lot of time thinking about my place in the institution of the church. I feel called to leadership that is both prophetic and loving. I know that civil rights and human rights are what God wants to see in the world. Part of my spiritual calling is helping every person encounter the divine, and that means working for liberty for all.
Q: What role will you be playing at Faith in Women?
A: I’ll be working on a number of initiatives, including supporting our fellowship program that pairs faith leaders with leaders in reproductive health, rights, and justice movement. When people feel empowered to speak up about these issues, it makes a huge difference.
I will also be looking at how to create spaces and networks of spiritual support for people who are making reproductive decisions or who are encountering difficult reproductive experiences, including infertility and miscarriage. Related to that, I’m interested in how to provide pastoral support for people who are activists in this movement. I recognize that spiritual formation, like going on a silent retreat or working with a spiritual director, is often a luxury that many can’t access. How do we make it more available for those who need it most?
Q: These are troubling times for reproductive health, rights, and justice work. What gives you hope in this moment?
A: I do feel like beginning my work with Faith in Women in this moment is divine timing. My church voted on my appointment to serve in this role, and people were excited by the intersectional approach of the work. The mission of Faith in Women aligns with our values as a denomination, and I have had a lot of positive conversations with people, including those who hold more conservative views. There are opportunities in this moment to see how we can come together to make our state better.
Q: What about this work makes you the most excited?
I want to help us explore the question: are we living up to our stated and unstated values as a church and as a society? That starts with creating space for conversation around issues of reproductive dignity and working to center voices in our churches and communities that have traditionally been excluded and silenced. I’m looking forward to that work.