Alumna Irene DeMaris, MDiv ’16, named Associate Director of the Center for Public Theology at Wesley Theological Seminary

April 19, 2017

Irene DeMaris came to the School of Theology and Ministry looking for a strong Biblical and theological grounding, with the historical preparation for ministry. After speaking with program director, Dr. Sharon Callahan, she realized the Master of Divinity degree (MDiv) would give her a holistic education and prepare her for ministry.

In her time at Seattle University’s School of Theology and Ministry, DeMaris found she resonated with being a public theologian and has crafted her pastoral leadership style with that in mind.

DeMaris states,               

“I live out my mission statement every day:

I am a public (and highly practical) theologian rooted in social justice that is fueled by grace to be an ally, advocate, and agitator who walks with others as they recognize and grasp their God-given agency. The very nature of my theology is liberation, highly influenced by feminist theology, being missional, and rooted in society outside of the confines of a church building or the institutional church. 

There is no way I would have been able to articulate my vocation without the work I did during my degree. Just developing my mission statement gave me direction and a way to seek my ministry goals.”

After graduating last summer, DeMaris moved to Washington D.C. for an Organizing Fellowship at Faith in Public Life. She has since finished her fellowship and was recently hired by Wesley Theological Seminary as the Associate Director for the Center for Public Theology.

Her position at the Center for Public Theology aligns with and furthers her passion and commitment to create healthy dialogue and societal change. She says, “As someone who loves religion and politics, and identifies as a public theologian, it is hard to imagine a better fit.” The Center for Public Theology states: “Our goal is to improve the tone of national political discourse by fostering a new ethic of civil discourse. We are non-partisan but not disinterested in the great issues of the day.”

The concepts she learned in the School of Theology and Ministry’s MDiv program paired with her own passions continually inspire DeMaris to create and live in a space open to theological ideas of seeking justice in churches, communities, and society at large. DeMaris adds, “I live in DC and this work is needed, I feel blessed to be a part of the work moving forward.”


Photo by Maria Bryk / Newseum