Rev. Jeanelle Nicolas Ablola (they/them) is a queer, non-binary trans child of immigrants and a Filipino/x born, raised, and living in the US diaspora. Their parents immigrated to Southern California from the Philippines and raised them in the United Methodist Church – both parents having generations of lineage as Methodists in the Philippines.
Knowing Jeanelle from their time as a youth and young adult at their local church, fellow PSR Alumnx, Rev. Harry Y. Pak and Rev. Carmen Pak, encouraged and supported them to pursue theological education and ordained ministry at their Alma Mater.
During Jeanelle’s time at PSR, they connected with fellow PSR Alumnx, Rev. Michael Yoshii and Rev. Ruth Ocera Cortez. Under their mentorship, Jeanelle was introduced to the movement for human rights and democracy in the Philippines through the California-Nevada Philippine Solidarity Task Force (PSTF) and developed as an activist, organizer, and person of faith. Since 2009, Jeanelle has coordinated and led annual Pastoral and Solidarity Visits to the Philippines in partnership with the National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP). Jeanelle finds joy in accompanying others – lay and clergy alike – in their development as advocates, activists, and leaders in international solidarity.
For a couple of years, Jeanelle worked as Buena Vista UMC’s Minister of Youth & Community Outreach, in which they co-developed a program called JAMS – Justice, Advocacy, Music, Spirituality – bringing together various intersections of grassroots peoples movements. Since 2011, they’ve served as Lead Pastor at Pine UMC in San Francisco – a church with a legacy in the Japanese American internment and the first predominantly Asian American congregation to proclaim themselves as Reconciling in 1993.
Through friendships with PSR alumnx, Jeanelle has developed deep connections with, and continues work alongside, grassroots organizations in justice, advocacy, and relief and mutual aid efforts locally and globally. They have provided guidance, leadership, and consultation for various organizations, including the Network on Religion and Justice for API LGBTQ+ people (NRJ-API-LGBTQ). They’ve been published in Resipiscence: A Lenten Devotional for Dismantling White Supremacy and The Intersections of Migration, Human Rights & Developmental Justice: A Resource Book of Churches Witnessing with Migrants. In 2014 they were a recipient of the Bishop Leontine T.C. Kelly Peace and Justice Award. As one of Sacred Roots Oakland’s Street Scholars and Healers, they offer pastoral care, consultation, and training.
Jeanelle’s time as a seminarian at PSR played a crucial role in fostering the connections and relationships that gave them opportunities to develop and thrive as an activist, organizer, theologian, and leader of faith. These connections continue to both deepen and broaden, transcending borders.
Jeanelle has over a decade in experience of planning, preaching, and presenting at educational and faith events, mobilizations, rallies, and protests. Rooted in international solidarity and finding resonance in Liberation Theology from the Philippines, they continue the legacy of building liberative relationships through praxis. Serving on the Alumnx Council, Jeanelle brings their experiences as a faith leader finding empowerment and authenticity in the various intersections they carry within themselves for their, and our, collective healing and liberation.