Rev. Jia Starr Brown’s experience in community education, engagement, and outreach encompass more than 25 years.
Conversationally fluent in three languages, she has served as a diversity trainer and community educator, continuing to be a fierce advocate for underrepresented and marginalized communities. Pastor Jia’s passion to increase accessibility of affordable academic and enrichment opportunities for all youth and families led her to design – and facilitate – more than 160 educational programs in the Twin Cities, receiving a Congressional Award for her service in 2015.
Upon receiving the call to serve God and the Church, Pastor Jia received her Master of Divinity from Luther Seminary and went right into pastoral ministry. In 2019, Rev. Brown was the recipient of the Frederick Buechner Preaching Award and an honoree of the MN African American Heritage Calendar Award.
Embarking on her final year of doctoral studies as a PhD student, Pastor Jia’s heart remains at the intersection of faith, education, and justice – studying societal conditions that lead oppressed to become oppressors, and how the Church – particularly teachers and preachers – can and should interrupt these violent systems.
Living out loud as a lesbian African American pastor, Pastor Jia is a truth-teller, known for her activism and advocacy, and her innovation of interfaith learning platforms that permeate the fringed boundaries of faith, race, and access.
Rev. Brown is the Project Designer and Coordinator of the ACTION Project, a three-year immersive journey toward intercultural competence, now offered to congregations throughout the state in partnership with the Minnesota Council of Churches; and, is Adjunct Faculty at United Theological Seminary.
Pastor Jia is married to her wife, Jennifer, and is the mother of five inspiring children ranging in age from teenagers to young adults…with her first grandchild on the way! Her life philosophy: “I give what I need.”