The Wedding Priestess

Ann Keeler Evans, M.Div. — The Wedding Priestess,

Minister, Author, Ritual Maker, Visionary, Change Agent.

The Rev. Ann Keeler Evans is a theologian and ritual maker. She not only serves many small private communities as their family priest, she now serves a small, thoughtful Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Central Pennsylvania. Because she believes our mission in life is to live gratefully, passionately and intentionally, she helps individuals, couples and communities get in touch with their passion and put it to work in the world. For the last 25 years, she has traveled extensively, meeting people exactly where they live — across this wide country and deep in their souls. Paying attention to what has meaning and to where the connections happen enhances life. Ann helps people clarify their beliefs and values, apply them to their lives, and celebrate life’s momentous passages in the midst of their communities in today’s ecumenical world. Ann’s greatest joy is in helping individuals and groups reflect on and work toward prayerful, intentional living.

To this end, in 1992, Ann created her own brand of ceremony, one that allows her to design and perform rites of passage and celebrations in people’s lives — weddings, baby blessings, memorials, house blessings, etc. She designs and performs ceremonies of all kinds, leading small personal rituals as well as large community celebrations.

Ann helps her constituents build bridges connecting the things that matter. Rich lives are incredibly complicated, and people seek ways to bind things together: the sacred and the secular, the personal and the professional, the individual and the communal, culture and class, men and women, grown-ups and children, and our faith and its application.

Ann excels at this because her own life has been a series of opposites: She has lived in small towns and large cities, on the East Coast and the West. She lived in the U.S. and in Europe; in cultures where she knew the rules and knew the language and in cultures where she had to find her way. She left the sweet safety of her family and small hometown, Bloomsburg, Pennsylvania, and took off to Sweden to live with people she had never met, at the height of Sweden’s leftist activism during the Viet Nam War. From there, she moved to the quiet seclusion of Wilson College for Women and then on to the edgy, fast-paced life of a professional single woman in the investment business in mid-town Manhattan and in Paris.  Next stop was the academic cloisters of Union Theological Seminary in Harlem. She left Union, New York and the mainstream church to create an entrepreneurial ecumenical ministry on the other side of the country.

She has lived in republican states, socialist countries and democratic cities. She studied in a mainstream Christian Seminary, read with a friend as she prepared for her bat mitzvah, explored emerging spiritualities and sat with indigenous elders. She has lived alone and in community. Ann insists on the value of intimate conversation and thrives in cyberspace. She has balanced her life by taking long sabbaticals and then working endlessly pursuing her dreams. Through it all, she has successfully woven an integrated life, which she shares with her beloved Partner, Steve Mitchell, who brought to their marriage two wonderful daughters and their families.

Sometimes she moves quietly and carefully between these disparate worlds. Other times she invites everyone to a party or a ritual in whatever small home she’s living, knowing everyone will have a good time! These days you’ll find her living quietly in a rural Pennsylvania farming community or dashing around the metropolitan Bay Area. Profoundly extroverted or wildly reflective? Deeply reverent or laughingly iconoclastic? You decide!

Ann is the author of the successful, highly praised and recommended Promises to Keep: Crafting your Wedding Ceremony and Remembering a Life: On the Death of Your Beloved (both at Emerald Earth Publishing). She’s a published poet and songwriter (Songs for Earthlings: Emerald Earth Publishers). Ann is a lively lecturer with a warm and witty sense of humor and an intimate presence. She preaches and prays and leads worship across a wide spectrum of faiths and traditions. She is a skilled leader for conferences and seminars on women’s, children’s and family issues about prayer and spirituality. And if you need an opinion on things spiritual or ethical, it’s likely Ann can help you!


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