Bishop Mary Ann Swenson, bishop of the California-Pacific Annual Conference, will preach to the West Kaua‘i United Methodist Church congregation Sunday at 9:30 a.m. at the Kekaha Church site. She will also preach at the Tongan service at Lihu‘e United Church at 2 p.m.
There will be a potluck and reception at both churches following worship and the public is invited.
Swenson was born in Arkansas and raised in Mississippi, where she was active early on in the United Methodist Church. She graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Millsaps College in 1969 and received a Doctor of Ministry degree from the Claremont School of Theology in 1975.
She was ordained a deacon in 1973 and elder in 1976. Following her ordination she pastored churches in California and Washington, including a term as district superintendent of the Puget Sound District. Her service to the larger church body has included the General Board of Discipleship, General Board of Global Ministries, General Council on Finance and Administration and Conference delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conferences from 1980 to 1992. Swenson was elected to the episcopacy by the Western Jurisdictional Conference in 1992 and assigned to the Denver area. In 2000, she was assigned to the Los Angeles area with oversight of the California-Pacific Annual Conference.
Swenson has emerged as an outspoken leader in the church on inclusiveness and issues of violence. She continues to pursue the dream of leading the church to become a more inclusive, justice-seeking community.
She is an avid cyclist along with Jeff, her husband of almost 40 years. In 1998 they rode cross-country on a tandem bicycle in 58 days.