Jenna Barnett is an associate web editor for Sojourners who loves writing and editing on culture, religion, and gender.
Jenna was born in San Antonio, Texas, and has found home in California, Georgia, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. Jenna has a B.A. in sociology and religion from Furman University, and will study Literary Reportage at New York University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences in the fall.
Before joining the Sojourners team, Jenna managed the International Rescue Committee’s large urban gardens in San Diego, and worked as a Peace Writer for the Women PeaceMakers Program at the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice, where she used creative nonfiction, interviews, and conflict analysis to tell the life story of Pauline Dempers, a human rights activist and torture survivor from Namibia. The narrative, Tell Them Our Names, is available online. It's a life goal of Jenna's to continue uplifting the stories of women who are cooler than she is.
Posts By This Author
9 Books Our Editors Loved This Year
Reading was the safest way to travel this year — sometimes to another decade and another brand of violence, sometimes to a different continent or a different galaxy altogether. Below are Sojourners' editors' favorite books of the year. Most of these books came out years ago, but by reading them through the lens of 2020, we found new wisdom, escape, resonance, and hope.
A Word Cloud for 2020: What Our Editors Are Reading
2020, which allegedly ends later this month, has made us mourn, and within that and despite that, it’s made us creative. Below are 10 articles about how we survived, how we didn’t, and how we still could.
Begrudgingly Thankful: What Our Editors Are Reading This Week
De-politicizing refugee resettlement, virtual Thanksgiving, and other stories our editors are reading.
No Unity Without Justice: Sermons from the Sunday After the Election
In president-elect Joe Biden’s acceptance speech on Saturday he “pledge[d] to be a president who seeks not to divide, but to unify. Who doesn’t see red and blue states, but a United States.”
Yet over the weekend, some social media users used their platforms to warn pastors not to conflate peace-building and unity with forced reconciliation.
Counting Votes and Blessings: What Our Editors Are Reading
It’s been a week of record highs: 143,855,830 people voted for Joe Biden or Donald Trump, and counting; 121,888 new daily cases of COVID-19 in the U.S., and counting.
The Vote Will Go On: What Our Editors Are Reading
Conspiracy theories, pizza, and voting where Celine Dion once sang.
Most Americans Fear Post-Election Violence, New Study Finds
According to new polling data from PRRI, 86 percent of Americans are concerned that there will be widespread violent protests in the aftermath of the upcoming election, revealing that both Republicans and Democrats share this fear.
For the Love of Faith, Justice, and Broccoli: What Our Editors Are Reading
Praise-band superspreaders, the Supreme Court, and God as Gardener.
5 Bible Verses About Flies
Last night’s vice presidential debate left viewers with many questions: Would Mike Pence aid in a peaceful transition of power should Donald Trump lose the election? Why do Kamala Harris and Joe Biden like fracking so much? Why was Susan Page denied a mute button? And why was that fly so drawn to Pence, plexiglass be damned? Perhaps it was the vice president’s hairspray, or his chilling stillness, or his pinkish eye. We may never know for sure. But in my search for answers, I turned to the Bible.
Thoughts, Prayers, Mixed Feelings
As news spread that Donald and Melania Trump have contracted COVID-19, thoughts, prayers, and tweets have started pouring in from across the U.S.
Hope in Dissent: What Our Editors Are Reading This Week
It was hard to remain hopeful this week — this year, really. We’re living in an age of dissent.
Hazed and Confused: What Our Editors Are Reading This Week
We’ve been running out of places to put all this smoke, all this bad, bad news. So we share it, and hope that collectively we can hold it as we fight for a more just reality.
Tragic, Hopeful, Silly: What Our Editors Are Reading
While Oregon wildfires consumed nearly a million acres in just 72 hours, domestic and international powers looked for ways to alter the results of the upcoming election. But somehow, joy has also continued, mainly because it must.
Spiritual Care at the Front Lines of the Pandemic
“When there’s a code blue or a stroke — when there’s pandemonium and crisis — everyone goes running,” Canosa said. “We joke that chaplains don’t run. Part of what we do is offer that calm and compassionate presence.”
Fasting From Food Waste in a Season of Hoarding
When Raleigh Mennonite Church decided to fast from food waste for Lent, they didn’t know that 14 days in, the World Health Organization (WHO) would declare COVID-19 a pandemic. At a time when a core group of members planned on salvaging still-edible food from the dumpsters outside of grocery stores, hoards of Americans emptied the supermarket shelves of essentials like milk and bread and boxed wine.
Policymakers Express Bipartisan Support for Restoring Dignity to Incarcerated Women
This week, a U.S. House Judiciary subcommittee held a hearing on women in the criminal justice system. While women only make up 7 percent of the prison population, the incarceration rate for women has increased at twice the pace as the incarceration rate for men since 1980, disproportionately impacting women of color.
The Best Soccer Team in U.S. History Wants Justice
Just under a hundred days before their first World Cup match (in which they would score a record-breaking 13 goals), every member of the team filed a class action, gender discrimination lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation. The timing of the announcement conveyed that the 23 other teams in the tournament would not be the only opponents of the USWNT this World Cup.
Let There Be Light
DURING REV. HEIDI Hankel’s interview for the lead pastor position at Philadelphia’s Bethesda Presbyterian Church, she learned that one of the church’s deacons was under investigation by law enforcement for allegedly sexually abusing a member of the youth group. Hankel was later offered the job.
No one would blame even the bravest of pastors for turning it down, but fortunately for that small Presbyterian church, Hankel is a reverend who likes to hop down in the trenches to be with her parishioners. She was afraid, she said, but also propelled by her faith to address the violence openly and holistically. She took the job.
“I didn’t know if they would fire me,” said Hankel. “But I felt at least I could stand before God one day and say I handled this well.”
Hankel had a simple answer for why it is so important for church leaders to loudly and actively work to prevent and address abuse: “God isn’t silent. And if God isn’t silent, we as his body—his hands and feet—should not be silent.”
Rev. Dr. LaKeesha Walrond Named First Woman President of New York Theological Seminary
Walrond said she is pleased “to have the opportunity to show all women that there are still many opportunities to be ‘the first.’”
ICE Detains Pastor, Leaving a Wisconsin Community Reeling
“In a representative democracy, if our legislators are not legislating in accordance with the moral law that we’re given by God, then it’s really on us to select representatives who will legislate in accordance with that law,” she said.