Our Keynote Speaker

The Rev. MaryAnn McKibben Dana is a writer, free-range pastor, speaker, and ministry coach living in the Virginia suburbs of DC. 

Like many authors, MaryAnn writes the books that she herself longs to read. So as a recovering perfectionist who likes her backup plans to have backup plans, she penned God, Improv, and the Art of Living, about embracing improvisation as a spiritual and life practice. And as a twitchy workaholic seeking to find balance in a 24/7 world, she wrote 2012’s Sabbath in the Suburbs, which turned out to be a Chalice Press bestseller for two years running and a “must read” by Ministry Matters. (Apparently other people are dealing with that stuff too?) She speaks to groups about these and other topics. In addition to her books, her writing has appeared in TIME.com, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Religion Dispatches, Journal for Preachers, Coaching World, and the Christian Century, and in a monthly column for Presbyterians Today for three years. She was featured on PBS’s Religion and Ethics Newsweekly for her work on Sabbath and was recognized by the Presbyterian Writers Guild with the 2015-2016 David Steele Distinguished Writer Award.

She is a sought-after speaker, preacher, conference leader and writer around issues of leadership, faith formation, and congregational transformation. She served as co-chair for two years of NEXT Church, a movement within the Presbyterian Church (USA) that seeks to call forth vital ministry for our changing cultural context. She is a parish associate at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Herndon, VA, and adjunct faculty at the George Washington University School of Medicine, working alongside physician mentors to teach clinical skills, interviewing, and patient coaching and care. MaryAnn is a graduate of Rice University in Houston, Texas and received her M.Div. from Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. She is a mother of three, an imperfect knitter, and an occasional ultramarathoner. Connect with her at her website.  

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