Alumni/ae Council

Marianna Kirwan (MDiv ’79)

United Church of Christ & Disciples of Christ; National City, CA 

Marianna Kirwan, Pacific School of Religion, Class of 1979 is enjoying her fortieth year in ministry. She has served congregations in southern California, on multi-staffs, as well as solo and senior pastor positions, and as the Mentoring Pastor for two seminarians who graduated from different seminaries. She has had first-hand experience with the changing roles of ministry, seminaries and the local church in the closing twenty years of one century and the opening twenty years of another. Rev. Kirwan continues to serve churches as an interim pastor.

When asked why she recommends her seminary to prospective students she said, “Pacific School of Religion continues to evolve and remain relevant to the needs of seminarians and to the institutions they will be called to serve. I am proud to be an alumna because my alma mater prepared me to begin ministry, instilled in me the need and the desire for life long learning and the ability to embrace diversity, change, and inclusiveness.”

Rev. Dr. Marianna Kirwan looks forward to the fulfillment of PSR Founders’ dream for Pacific School of Religions. (No, that’s not a typo). They had a vision of the future when religions would be able to study together and remain faithful to the best in one’s own faith, while recognizing and celebrating what was held in common by all religions.

She has served on the boards of Southern California-Nevada Conference United Church of Christ, Disciples Seminary Foundation and Pacific Southwest Region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). She holds standing in both, has a Life Teaching Credential from the State of California, and earned a D. Min. from Claremont School of Theology. She is passionate about the church, people, ecumenical and interfaith learning and the phenomenology of religion. The boards, committees and congregations she has served often mention wisdom, discernment and humor as the gifts she brings that are especially appreciated. And she still likes a good march for justice.