Pastor Marie Mainard O’Connell
The Reverend Marie Mainard O’Connell was born in Springdale, Arkansas and raised in Carrollton, Texas. After meeting her future husband, James O’Connell, in a high school theatre production, she graduated and returned to Arkansas as a student at Hendrix College. She later received a Master’s Degree in College Administration from the University of Central Arkansas. After serving as Program Coordinator for the Office of Student Engagement at Mary Baldwin College in Staunton, Virginia, and the birth of their first child (Katie, now age 11), Marie answered the call to ministry and attended New Brunswick Theological Seminary in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She graduated with a senior project in Human Trafficking, and highest honors in preaching and academics. While in seminary, she did an internship as a hospital chaplain.
After seminary, with another child in tow (Kevin, now age 7), Marie and James returned to central Arkansas where James began teaching Theatre and Technical Theatre at Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock and Marie became the Interim Director for Youth at Westover Hills Presbyterian Church. After a short stint at Westover Hills, Marie accepted her first call as the head pastor at First Presbyterian Church in Little Rock. After their third child was born (Jon, now age 2), Marie took a break from full time pastoral work to become the Site Coordinator for the Little Rock Young Adult Volunteer program of the PC(USA). After a year with this program, resumed full time ministry at Second Presbyterian Church as the Transitional Associate Pastor for Pastoral Care.
In her spare time Marie enjoys reading, writing, walks outdoors, volunteering and spending time with her family—including Sam the dog, Joey and Medea the cats, and Bully the guinea pig. She is very grateful to God that the next call on her life is here in beautiful central Arkansas, among people she loves, in a wonderful church ready to explore what God is doing next.
We, the Pastor Nominating Committee are so very happy to have found in Marie an inspiring worship leader with a gift for pastoral care and the personal ministry of presence. In addition, she brings a special love for mission and community coupled with a rich understanding of the Presbyterian Church (USA). We have without a doubt experienced the Holy Spirit in this very intentional process of discernment and are unanimously confident you too will be enlightened, energized, and inspired by Pastor Marie.