Marilyn Bowens

  • Rev. Marilyn Bowens is the Senior Pastor of Imani Metropolitan Community Church in Durham, NC. Raised in a fundamentalist home and church environment, Rev. Bowens initially sensed her call to ministry as a teenager, but then “life happened,” and her inability to reconcile what she had been taught about homosexuality with the possibility of being a minister deterred her from saying “yes” to her call. Instead, she pursued a Juris Doctorate degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law, and was licensed to practice law, in 1992. She earned her LL.M. degree from the University of Wisconsin (Madison) Law School in 1993. Her thesis, “The ‘Cleaver Paradigm’ as an Anachronism in a Multi-Cultural Society,” in which she argued for legal recognition of non-traditional families, was published in The Wisconsin Journal of Law, Gender, and Society (formerly, The Wisconsin Women’s Law Journal ) in 1993.


    Rev. Bowens worked as an Assistant Professor of Law at North Carolina Central University School of Law for several years, specializing in Constitutional Law. During this period, she became aware of the existence of the Metropolitan Community Church and began attending her local MCC. She gave up her legal career to study at Duke Divinity School, and received her Master of Divinity degree in 2006. Rev. Bowens is dually ordained as clergy of the Metropolitan Community Church and of The Fellowship of Affirming Ministries. She has embraced being used by God to provide healing ministry, particularly to LGBT’s, as her life’s work. Rev. Bowens is the proud mother of two adult sons, and the adoring grandmother of her eight-year-old grandson, Justin.


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