Who was Ann Jordan, and Why Does She Matter?

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Jordan Court, the new building on the corner of Cedar and Oxford, seems to have sprung up overnight, but its roots lie deeper, in Vestry discussions going back to 2015 — and in the generosity of one All Soulsian in particular, who found her spiritual home at All Souls and then bequeathed a sizable estate to the parish.

That parishioner was Ann Jordan, a woman of many gifts, including a talent for poetry. In the preface to a book of her poems, she wrote, “I am a dwarf who walks on crutches. That isn’t the most important thing about me, but it tends to be the first thing people notice about me, so we might as well get it over with…. On the other hand I am told I have striking blue eyes and expressive hands.… I have a very distinctive laugh which can be heard a long way away. That is, perhaps, enough about my overall appearance and mannerisms.” 

An excellent student in college and a world traveler, Ann later earned graduate degrees in library science and from the Starr King School of Ministry in Berkeley and was ordained. 

In or about 1990 she came through the doors at All Souls, where she shared her talents generously for two decades. According to the biography in her funeral service bulletin, Ann served as a lector, preached, took part in literary readings and plays, wrote Pathfinder articles, and helped start the telephone prayer system that has since become an email chain. She was also attended Lunch Bunch gatherings regularly. Ann died on January 15,  2011.

All Souls Vestry voted to use the invested capital of Ann Jordan’s estate to help pay for the office wing of the new building, which also includes two apartments for the clergy’s use. The official groundbreaking ceremony for Jordan Court, named in her honor, was in late September 2020. Completion is expected this October, and residents will be moving in by November 2021. 

Work on this project began in late 2015, after the All Souls Vestry deliberated over three options for dealing with the increasingly decrepit Parish House: tear it down and build market-rate housing (which would guarantee a certain annual revenue for the church); renovate and possibly rebuild the Parish House; or build affordable housing and some new office space in partnership with a local non-profit. The Vestry came to the consensus that creating affordable housing aligned best with our intention to “encounter the Holy through Gospel-inspired service, working side by side with our sisters and brothers in the wider community.”

The All Souls Vestry chose to partner with Satellite Affordable Housing Associates (SAHA). SAHA brings decades of experience in building and administering affordable apartments. They procured most of the funding from county, state, and federal sources, as well as shepherding the project through the permitting process. All Souls is contributing the value of the land — the two lots that formerly held the Parish House and parking lot, as well as the generous gift from Ann Jordan that will help to house and provide workspace for All Souls clergy for decades to come.