The Reverend Marlene E. Forrest is a cradle Episcopalian. She graduated with her Master of Divinity from Virginia Theological Seminary on May 17, 2018. She was ordained to the Transitional Diaconate on June 9th, 2018 and the Priesthood on December 8, 2018.
Before entering seminary, Marlene was active in the life and ministry of her home church, Meade Memorial Episcopal in Alexandria, Virginia as a Eucharistic Minister, Lay Preacher, Worship Leader, Youth Minister, Vestry member and Choir member. She retired as a Special Education Teacher in 2016 after 30 years of teaching a variety of children with special needs.
While at Virginia Theological Seminary, Marlene established and served as President of the Seminarians of Color Union (SOCU). She was a Bishop Payne Scholar and was a member of the Multicultural Ministries Committee. She also served on the Design Team for the 2017 Seminarians of Color Conference sponsored by The Episcopal Church and the Office on Ethnic Ministries. In 2017 she was nominated and attended the Preaching Excellence Program, sponsored by the Episcopal Preaching Foundation. She is the 2018 recipient of the Thomas Underwood Dudley Award for Reading and Scripture Liturgy. This award is presented to graduating students who, in the opinion of the VTS faculty, have demonstrated excellence in the public reading and interpretation of the Scriptures and the Liturgy.
She obtained her undergraduate Degree in Special Education from Virginia State University in Petersburg, Virginia and her Masters in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University. She has one daughter, Sara. She is a proud mother, daughter, sister and aunt. Her family is very important to her and she loves to spend time with them. In her spare time, she likes to watch medical, cooking and home renovation shows. She is also a music lover and attends many live music events when time permits.
Marlene began her ordained ministry serving as the Assistant Rector for Youth and Family Ministries at Saint Peter’s in the Woods family in Fairfax Station, Virginia. In the Diocese of Virginia, Marlene serves on the Committee on Priesthood and the Committee on Dismantling Racism.
One of her favorite scriptures is 2 Chronicles 7:14 “However, if my people who belong to me will humbly pray, seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin, and heal their land.”