Trailblazing Priest Works to Break Down Racial Barriers

The Reverend Davette Turk spent nearly 30 years forging hope and new beginnings in the Jacksonville community. She became the first female priest of the Episcopalian Diocese of Florida.Thanks to her trailblazing, more than 30 women have since joined the ranks of the priesthood.

She is the co-founder of Reconcile Jacksonville, an organization promoting interracial community interactions. By helping people put aside differences, this program fosters an environment of understanding and acceptance working to unify all members of our community. In the past 17 years, Reconcile Jacksonville has been responsible for bringing together more than 40 black and white churches.  The reverend’s actions have encouraged an open dialogue about racism and its impact on Jacksonville. With this program, Reverend Turk confronted racial issues to help break down barriers.

Reverend Turk advocated change for families through her involvement with Beaver Street Enterprises. This program is a full-service organization that incubates small businesses in targeted areas in order to revive economic health, provide desperately needed jobs and further opportunity. It enables economically disadvantaged men and women to become good stewards of our community by teaching them how to build a successful business. This helps stimulate economic growth and enhance lives while impacting our neighborhoods in the Jacksonville community.
As chaplain for the board of the Monique Burr Foundation for children, Reverend Turk worked with several of the foundation’s programs, including The Sanctuary on 8th Street. This program expands opportunities for at-risk children by offering educational assistance and social services. It also exposes these children to the arts, helping them to discover potential talents.

For decades, the reverend made it her mission to bridge the many gaps dividing our community. She has said that “the only way to love someone is to reach out.” Through her perseverance and dedication she has done just that, making Jacksonville a better place for everyone to live.

Meet this inspirational servant-leader this Thursday evening at Celebrate!GOOD.


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We inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world. As the on-ramp to volunteering in our community, we work with more than 125 local nonprofit organizations to provide opportunities for people to connect to make a difference.
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