Rev. Nora Jacob
I serve as Restorative Justice Minister and co-pastor in a fresh expression of the 21st-century church called UrbanMission (UCC/DOC), in south Pomona, CA. My ministry there responds to my call to serve people who are marginalized – specifically, those returning to society after having been incarcerated. I founded and continue to coordinate a network of 40+ organizations called the Pomona Valley Reentry Coalition that serves returning citizens. Legislative advocacy and anti-racism/pro-reconciliation work are other dimensions of my UrbanMission ministry.
I am also the Restorative Justice Director of a related non-profit organization called UrbanMission Community Partners (UMCP), where I facilitate work with those in prison or jail. I lead restorative justice circles with those serving term-to-life or life-without-parole sentences for doing major harm to others. In this, I am grateful to help to empower, and to witness, their healing and resurrection every week.
In addition, in UMCP, I coordinate the Freedom Art Project to promote the creativity and transformation of currently and previously incarcerated artists. We hold art shows of their work to promote creativity and transformation, and to raise funds for prison art programs and victims’ rights activities. The InsideOut Art Shows are also part of UMCP’s entrepreneurial efforts.
Public library leadership, fundraising and grant-writing, and journalism are significant parts of my career history. I retired in 2008 from the executive team of the City of Orange, CA, where I served as Library Services Director as well as director of the public library foundation. In 2010, God called me to seminary and then to restorative justice ministry within the UrbanMission/UMCP team. I feel fortunate to be part of a ministry team (all friends from seminary) that operates intentionally without hierarchy, in an attractional and missional model of church, living as best we can into the biblical vision of God’s kindom.