Support the Café

Search our Site

Jena Nardella to offer benediction at DNC

Jena Nardella to offer benediction at DNC

Jena Nardella has been asked to offer the benediction at the Democratic National Convention tonight. From the Chairman of the Board of Blood Water Mission:

Sometimes when the phone rings, you never know who is going to be on the other end. For our Blood:Water Mission Executive Director Jena Nardella it was an invitation of honor.

Tonight, Jena will be praying for the country and for those we serve in Africa at the close of the opening day of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC. This invitation came at the end of last week as the President was looking for a Christian who was doing good and admirable work in the world, and they thought of Jena. This is an incredible honor for Jena to be invited to share her voice from this international platform. Her invitation is an example of the years of impact she has made in seeking health and healing for those we serve.

Nardella is a member of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church in Nashville. She notes at her blog that the Rev. Becca Stevens is her priest. Magdelene House is one of the ministries of this church.

h/t to the Rev. Amy Real Coultas.

Read press release below:

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

For Immediate Release

For more information, contact Joelle Polisky

(615) 516-0358 or

Nashville Non-Profit Executive to lead opening night benediction at Democratic National Convention in Charlotte Blood:Water Mission’s Jena Nardella invited for the impact she’s made in the world

Nashville, TN – Nashville based non-profit Blood:Water Mission announces today that their executive director, Jena Nardella, has been invited to deliver the opening night benediction at the Democratic National Convention. Her participation in the convention will be this evening after the opening night keynote address at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, NC.

“They said ‘The President wanted us to find a Christian who was doing good and admirable work in the world, and we thought of you’,” said Nardella as she recalled the phone call she received from the Obama campaign’s Faith Vote office. “I’m honored to represent the countless thousands of people of faith who work tirelessly for justice, health and healing around the globe.”

In 2004 at the age of 22, Jena co-founded Blood:Water Mission alongside the Grammy-award winning band, Jars of Clay, to address the water & HIV/AIDS crises in Sub-Saharan Africa. Through her leadership as Executive Director, over 700,000 people in 1100 communities now have access to safe water and tens of thousands living with HIV/AIDS have access to medical treatment, care and support.

“We are proud of the impact that Jena has had on building leaders in our communities in Africa. She is an inspiration as a young dynamic leader in her field,” says Rich Hoops, Chairman of the Board for Blood:Water Mission. “Her prayer and message of hope and healing can bridge party lines and backgrounds as our work is truly not partisan. This invitation is an example of how she has brought communities together for one common purpose and the respect she has from many here and abroad. ”

Nardella recently attended the International AIDS Conference in Washington, DC and participated in a gathering of faith leaders with Department of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships at the White House, spoke on a panel hosted by World Vision as well as attended an event hosted by HIV/AIDS leaders Rick and Kay Warren of Saddleback Church.

“It is our faith that motivates us and compels us to care, not divides us. As author John Stott once said, ‘Love has no need to justify itself.’ We all have a responsibility to act and come together in one purpose. At this important time in our country, I pray my benediction conveys God’s deep desire for unity and peace in the US as well as across the globe,” says Nardella.

About Jena Nardella:

In 2004 at the age of 22, Jena founded Blood:Water Mission alongside the band, Jars of Clay. Through her leadership, over 1100 communities now have accessto safe water and tens of thousands living with HIV/AIDS have access to medical treatment, care and support. Jena has been featured in Sojourners Magazine, Christianity Today, Relevant Magazine, and the documentary film, Sons of Lwala. Her collaborative writing includes Hope in the Dark, Zealous Love, and The Revolution: A Field Manual for Changing Your World. She serves on the board for the Center for Nonprofit Management and the Vanderbilt Institute for Global Health. Jena is a graduate of Whitworth University with a degree in Political Studies. Her husband, James Nardella, is the Executive Director of the Kenyan-based Lwala Community Alliance. Together they live in Nashville and travel often to Africa. To learn more, visit her blog at or follow her on twitter, @jenanardella.

About Blood:Water Mission:

Blood:Water Mission is grassroots non-profit organization based in Nashville, Tennessee, established to empower communities to work against the HIV/AIDS and water crises in sub-Saharan Africa.

Co-founded by multi-platinum GRAMMY® Award winning band, Jars of Clay, Blood:Water Mission began in 2005 as a call to personalize the HIV/AIDS crisis in Africa. After funding a late stage AIDS hospice and discovering the vital link between living with HIV/AIDS and the need for clean, safe water, Blood:Water launched nation-wide effort to provide clean water and sanitation to 1000 communities in sub-Saharan Africa based on the equation that $1 provides one African with clean water for an entire year.

Since its launch, Blood:Water has raised millions of dollars through the creative efforts of hundreds of thousands of individuals seeking to make a difference, providing for the completion of the 1000 Wells Project at the end of 2010. To date, Blood:Water has partnered with more than 1,100 communities in Africa, providing life-saving water for over 700,000 people in 11 different countries and access to HIV/AIDS education, treatment and support for over 30,000 people. For more information and to get involved, visit or follow on twitter, @bloodwater.


Café Comments?

Our comment policy requires that you use your real first and last names and provide an email address (your email will not be published). Comments that use non-PG rated language, include personal attacks, that are not provable as fact or that we deem in any way to be counter to our mission of fostering respectful dialogue will not be posted.

Oldest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Bill Dilworth

Kevin, what’s really extraordinary is that it doesn’t seem to actually be a parish, but a chapel at Vanderbilt that has an impact in the wider community, too.

Bill Dilworth

Seems Luke a much better choice than Cardinal Dolan.


Good-golly, Miss Molly! What an extraordinary parish this St. Augustine’s must be!

Kevin McGrane

John B. Chilton

I’m guessing our best chance of seeing this is on C-Span,

She’s immediately after Michelle Obama — last on tonight’s official DNC timetable here:

Support the Café
Past Posts

The Episcopal Café seeks to be an independent voice, reporting and reflecting on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican tradition.  The Café is not a platform of advocacy, but it does aim to tell the story of the church from the perspective of Progressive Christianity.  Our collective sympathy, as the Café, lies with the project of widening the circle of inclusion within the church and empowering all the baptized for the role to which they have been called as followers of Christ.

The opinions expressed at the Café are those of individual contributors, and, unless otherwise noted, should not be interpreted as official statements of a parish, diocese or other organization. The art and articles that appear here remain the property of their creators.

All Content  © 2017 Episcopal Café