Mary Ann Swenson

Bishop Mary Ann Swenson


United States

Western Jurisdiction


Bishop Mary Ann McDonald Swenson is a Retired Bishop of The United Methodist Church, having served from 1992-2012.

She was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. She was raised in Jackson, Mississippi, where she was active in Sunday school, youth group, and choir at Capitol Street United Methodist Church. She graduated from Millsaps College in Jackson, Mississippi, with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and received a Doctor of Ministry degree from the School of Theology at Claremont.

Mary Ann was ordained both deacon and elder by Bishop Wilbur Choy. She served as Associate Pastor of Claremont United Methodist Church in Claremont, California; Pastor of Orchards United Methodist Church, Vancouver, Washington; District Superintendent of the Puget Sound District, Pacific Northwest Conference; Senior Pastor of First United Methodist Church, Wenatchee, Washington. She also served as Youth Director for St. Luke's UMC, and Capitol Street UMC in Jackson, Mississippi, Elma UMC and Mason UMC in the PNW Conference, and Claremont UMC in Claremont, California.

Mary Ann served as Dean of the Cabinet, PNW Conference. While assigned to First UMC Wenatchee, she also was President of the Board of Directors of the Rape Crisis and Domestic Violence Center and served on the North Central Washington AIDS Coalition. She has served as a director of the General Board of Discipleship and General Board of Global Ministries, where she also was the Chair of the Committee to Eliminate Institutional Racism and the Committee on Personnel and Nominations. She was an elected PNW Conference delegate to General and Jurisdictional Conferences in 1980, 1984, 1988, and 1992.

Mary Ann Swenson was elected to the episcopacy by the Western Jurisdictional Conference in 1992 and assigned to the Denver Area. During her tenure there she served again with the General Board of Discipleship and as President from 1996-2000. In 2000, she moved to the California-Pacific Annual Conference and began to serve with the GCFA, including the President of GCFA.

Mary Ann McDonald married Jeff Swenson on August 31, 1968. On their 25th wedding anniversary, the Swensons received a tandem bicycle. Since that time they became avid riders, completing a California coast tour in 1994, an Oregon coast tour in 1995, Washington State tour in 1996, and riding to and from Annual Conference sessions. In the summer of 1998, they rode across the United States from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean, covering 4059 miles in 58 days. In the California-Pacific Conference, they frequently rode to Sunday services wherever Mary Ann is preaching. 

Jeff passed on Sunday, August 22, 2021.