Jump to Tributes

Rev. Dr. Joanna Gabriel made her transition on Tuesday, September 21, 2021. Let us celebrate her life with her accomplishments, followed by some beautiful Tributes shared by those who knew her.




All Who Loved This/My Beautiful Lady, Good-bye for Now”
Please don’t be sad or filled with sorrow,
For it’s only “good-bye for now.”
My plans were to serve you today and tomorrow,
But I had to say “good-bye for now.”
Your love for me was shown and I received it well,
However, it is “good–bye for now.”
For you see, I’ve run my race and finished
My course, so to you I have to tell- “Goodbye for now.” Love the Beloved Dr. Rev Joanna Thompson Gabriel aka Woman, Daughter, Sister, Auntie, Cousin, Mother, and Friend

Rev. Dr. Joanna Gabriel was an ordained Unity minister, spiritual counselor, chaplain, teacher, workshop facilitator, singer, and storyteller.

A native of Toledo, Ohio, from a family of singers and ministers, Rev. Joanna says that she has had a heart for the gospel message through Word and Song from an early age. Rev. Joanna has a “theology of song” in which she sees song as a metaphor for life and proclaiming the good news as an expression of life. An enthusiastic encourager, Rev. Joanna, says that “a bell is not a bell until you ring it; a song is not a song until you sing it, and love is not love until you give it away.” Her life’s work is to help people love themselves enough to live with fullness.

Her ministerial education includes Postgraduate Studies in Theology at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City, Missouri; Graduation and Ordination from Unity Urban Ministerial School, Detroit, Michigan and Unity School of Religious Studies in Kansas City, Missouri. She also graduated and was ordained through the Barbara King School of Ministry in Atlanta, Georgia.

Rev. Gabriel holds the Doctorate in Ministry from the Unity Urban Ministerial School in Detroit, Michigan, Bachelor’s Degree in Religious Studies from Lourdes College in Sylvania, Ohio, and an Associate in Business Administration from Stautzenberger Business College in Toledo, Ohio. Over the years, she has served ministries in Miami Gardens, Florida, Delray Beach, Florida, Toledo, Ohio, Albany, Georgia, Omaha, Nebraska, and Atlanta, Georgia. She has also served as a Prayer Ministry Associate at Silent Unity.

Rev. Joanna has done extensive Clinical Pastoral Education in preparation to serve as a hospital and hospice chaplain. She recently retired from Vitas Innovative Hospice Care as Chaplain.

She is the Co-founder of Global Harmony, a grassroots peace initiative that produces workshops, seminars, radio blogs; all to enlighten, educate, and dialogue on what it takes to live in global Harmony. Global Harmony works to bring spirituality into active expression and to build interfaith/intercultural bridges to peace.

Her honors and awards include Theological Honor Society, Lourdes College, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Drum Major Award from the Black Catholic Coalition in Toledo for community service. Soroptomist International of the Palm Beaches: in recognition for outstanding work to improve the lives of women. The Rev. Dr. Ruth Mosley Award for Achievement in Urban Ministry from the Unity Urban Ministerial School, Detroit, Michigan.

Rev. Joanna’s latest book is Re-Wired: A Sankofa Healing Journey: Moving Beyond Confusion to Peace, which invites us to explore ideas that can help us reframe the concept of “retirement” as an ending to “re-wirement,” which is about readying oneself for new joyous and peaceful beginnings. Rev. Joanna is also the author of The Starpower Process: Surviving, Thriving, Arriving and Reviving By Following Your Inner Star, a self-reflective process journal to help readers connect with the “star” within. She is working on a second book. Your Life Is Your Song: Raising the Bar on Self Esteem.

Rev. Joanna is a retired chaplain and pastor and makes her home once again in Toledo, Ohio, where she spends her time writing, sharing in the MultiFaith Council of Northwest Ohio, sharing talks for area churches, teaching classes, and providing mentoring support to Inspirational Gatherings of Toledo. (Source: TruthUnity.net)

Tributes to Rev. Joanna Thompson Gabriel

Greetings Beloveds,

Rev. Sylvia Sumter: I send thoughts of love and Light to our sister Rev. Dr. Joanna Gabriel. May her transition carry her further into the Light, and may she know deep peace, love, and joy as she travels onward.

Rev. Joslyn Mason: So sorry to hear this news of Rev. Joanna’s passing. She was a Beautiful Light in the Unity movement. My condolences to her friends and family. Blessings.

Rev. Josephine Furlow: My heart and prayers are with her family. This is unbelievable. ~

Rev. Dr. Anna Shouse:  I have known Joanna since I was a ministerial student in the early-mid ’90s. She is a deeply Christ dedicated soul. I feel sad that she has left the Earth plane. And I know that Joanna is strong and trusts God. She has made many victories, and though I would rather she was still here I am sure that this too is one. Blessings of peace and Power to dear Joanna. She is singing I have no doubt. In the Love and Light of the Christ.

Rev. Eileen Patra: Rev. Joanna will certainly be missed by all of her Unity family, especially UUMS. I am grateful to have crossed paths with her and for all the ways she served the Unity movement. “Well done, good and faithful servant,” certainly applies to this beautiful being of Light. I hold her family in prayer as they are also held in the arms of Divine Love during this time of letting go and celebrating such a special soul. Blessings and comfort to all.

Rev. Joy Wyler: She will be missed! I don’t remember how we connected but she had a powerful and centered presence.

Rev. Charline Manuel: Joanna was a phenomenal woman, friend, minister, prophetess, and gospel singer.  My thoughts are on her today.

Rev. Shad Groverland: I am so sad to hear this but thank you for letting us know. She will be in my thoughts today.

Rev. Cynthia Vermillion-Foster: We are saddened by this loss and holding her and all those close to her in love and Light.

Rev. Deborah Frownfelter: Such sad news about Rev Dr Joanna.  My heart and prayers go out to all of you who worked with her and to her family. May Divine Love comfort and uplift you. Blessings.

Rev. Duke Tufty: I always knew her as Joanna Thompson, the Gabriel threw me. [She] sang “He Is The Rock” at our Sunday Service. We were Words with Friends partners. Connected every day for the last couple of years. This is the last message I received from her. Her status on the game board says – “active” and I am sure she is. I got this message on August 7, 2021:

“Thanks for asking Duke. I am experiencing a whole host of feelings and each one is a part of this adventure called love. I am marveling at the wonderful technology that makes it password some wonderful connections. Zoom, Facebook, and YouTube make it possible for me to attend church in Florida, Atlanta, Jamaica, Michigan, etc. I am amazed at the beauty of nature showing up as flowers and animals and people. I feel saddened by so much violence, death, and division. I feel helpless at the giant crises of climate change and pandemics. I am experiencing some health and aging challenges that I am moving through. So I am navigating this new normal very well. In other words: Life is good.” (from Joanna dated 8/7/21)

Bernadette Swanson: “I always picture Rev. Joanna smiling. I was saddened to hear of her passing. She had wonderful energy, peaceful, yet strong. I imagine that she was a wonderful chaplain.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *