Out – At her Master of Divinity Senior Exit Interview
Anne Newkirk Niven
My story: I came out publicly as a Pagan the day I attended my Master of Divinity Senior Exit Interview at Pacific School of Religion, in Berkeley, CA in 1986. In so doing, I risked losing my degree, as PSR was (and is) a Christian school, and a Master of Divinity is a professional degree declaring that the recipient is ready for full-time professional ministry. I was the first person (to my knowledge) to be awarded an M. Div. by a fully-accredited graduate school of religion. Diana Paxson courageously attended as my clergy representative, and I succeedfully graduated and received my degree. All this was several years before I became aware of the existence of SageWoman, or had any idea that I would have a career in Pagan publishing.
Like the woman featured recently on NPR (google “from minister to atheist”) by coming out I was sacrificing my career in Christian ministry and stepping into an unknown future. (I’d been training for ministry since high school). But the Goddess called, and being public seemed the only thing to do. I now publish SageWoman, Crone, and Witches&Pagans magazines; the Goddess has upheld me in that decision for over 25 years now. Blessed Be.