The Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu

Denomination: The Episcopal Church (TEC)
Organization: All Saints' Episcopal Church, Atlanta, GA

The Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu knew from early in life that the one thing she would never be is a priest. She has always said, “I have my father’s nose, I do not want his job” but life had other plans...

After years spent as a development consultant, educator and race and gender activist she accepted her call to ordained ministry. She is an Episcopal priest who most recently was Associate Rector at All Saints, Beverly Hills.

The challenges of growing black and female in apartheid South Africa have been the foundation of Naomi’s life as an activist for human rights. Those experiences taught her that our whole human family loses when we accept situations of oppression, and how the teaching and preaching hate and division injure us all.

Rev. Tutu is the third child Archbishop Desmond and Nomalizo Leah Tutu. She was born in South Africa and had the opportunity to live in many communities and countries. She was educated in Swaziland, the US and England, and has divided her adult life between South Africa and the US. Growing up the ‘daughter of …’ has offered Naomi Tutu many opportunities and challenges in her life. Perhaps one of the greatest challenges she has struggled with is the call to ministry. This call refused to be silenced, even as she carried her passion for justice into other fields, the call to preach and serve as an ordained clergyperson continued to tug at her. Finally, in her 50’s she responded to the call and went to seminary.

Her professional experience ranges from being a development consultant in West Africa, to being program coordinator for programs on Race and Gender and Gender-based Violence in Education at the African Gender Institute at the University of Cape Town. In addition, Rev. Tutu has taught at the University of Hartford, University of Connecticut and Brevard College in North Carolina. She served as Program Coordinator for the historic Race Relations Institute at Fisk University and was a part of the Institute’s delegation to the World Conference Against Racism in Durban.

She started her public speaking as a college student at Berea College in Kentucky in the 1970’s when she was invited to speak at churches, community groups and colleges and universities about her experiences growing up in apartheid South Africa. Since that time, she has become a much sought-after speaker to groups as varied as business associations, professional conferences, elected officials and church and civic organizations. She currently resides in Atlanta where she is a priest associate at All Saint's Episcopal.

Day1 Weekly Programs by The Rev. Nontombi Naomi Tutu

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The Call and Challenge Of the Wilderness

Tuesday February 13, 2024
I invite you to think of the ways and places that you are tempted – tempted by Satan to ignore God’s love in your heart, God’s call on your life – and to recognize that God stands ready in those places of temptation to be with you. That when we are not strong enough to withstand temptation, God says, “I am here. Turn to me. Cry to me. Pray to me and I will give you the strength, the humility you need to face temptation.” I like to think of wilderness time as fallow time, from the time when our societies were agricultural and we would leave a field after it had been harvested for a year or so to recover and leave it fallow so that it could rest, it could receive the blessing of rain and of God’s nature. And I like to think of us as fields that sometimes need that fallow time, that wilderness time.