PRESENTER: Deacon Mary Ann Schwabe
Deacon Mary Ann Schwabe is the Natural Systems
Coordinator in the Office of the Presiding Bishop for the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. From 2005 to 2014 she served as an assistant to the bishop in the
Northeastern Ohio Synod and continues to coordinate that synod's Congregational Resource Team as it promotes well-being in its leaders and congregations through the use of family systems theory.
Prior to her calls to the synod and churchwide staff, she served congregations as a deacon with a focus in church music, religious education, and family ministry. Mary Ann has a Bachelor of Music degree from Houghton College and a Master of Arts in Religion from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. She has studied and applied Bowen family systems theory since 1994, initially in her own family of origin work and in parish leadership.
In her call to the Northeastern Ohio Synod staff, she
developed a working group committed to congregational systems endeavors in three primary areas: congregational struggle, the call process, and family systems seminars for clergy and church leaders. The development of a resource team and its ongoing task and training has become a vital ministry of the synod. Mary Ann's primary areas of interest are in addressing congregational anxiety and facilitating a view of parish leadership through family process and a natural systems lens.
Mary Ann is a member of Voyagers national colloquy on Bowen theory and its application by the late Rabbi Ed Friedman, a leadership coach and congregational consultant, and as board member and chair of Healthy Congregations, Inc. She has been part of the development team of the ELCA Systems Academy, is a coordinator of Academy sessions and, as part of the Academy curriculum, facilitates the formation and training of synod teams which oversee congregational well-being.
Mary Ann and her husband Rick have five adult children and eight grandchildren.