Meet Reverend Debbie McDonnell

Reverend Debbie McDonnell is Chair of Seaside’s Adult Education, Congregant Care Ministry, and Core Facilitator of the Artist Ministry and Seaside Recovery Ministry.  “A long time student of metaphysics with an unquenchable thirst for spiritual truth,” she was introduced to New Thought teachings in 1990 shortly after beginning a spiritual journey that continues today.  Reverend Debbie discovered Seaside Center for Spiritual Living in 2002 and it became her family’s spiritual home.  In 2005 she became a Licensed Religious Science Practitioner, and then continued ministerial studies at the Holmes Institute School of Spiritual Leadership, graduating in June 2014.

Reverend Debbie, a third generation Californian, grew up in Anaheim, CA.  She comes from a large Italian family and is the second oldest of 12 children. She attended Cornelia Connelly High School, Orange Coast Community College and Palomar Community College.  Reverend Debbie worked in visual merchandising for Judy’s and May Co, pursued a career in acting, and later became a massage therapist.  She has been an active member of a 12-Step Recovery program since 1988 when she started her spiritual journey. 

In 1989, Reverend Debbie moved to San Diego and started a family.  As a stay-at-home Mom for 20 years, Reverend Debbie was an active volunteer in scouting and her children’s schools.  She also returned to school and completed a double degree in Fashion Design and Liberal Arts.  Her daughter, Brianna, a recent graduate of CSUN, is pursuing a career in musical theater and son, Sean, attends Westmont College in Santa Barbara on a basketball scholarship and is majoring in kinesiology.  

During the past 15 years, Reverend Debbie has served Seaside in many capacities, including two terms as President of the Board of Trustees, the Dream Be Create capital campaign team and the building committee, the Practitioner Core, Director of Youth and Family and the Seaside Visioning Core.  “A creative soul,” she paints, draws and loves to create beauty in all forms, whether on canvas or in her home and garden.  Her joy is to support individuals on their spiritual journey in classes, counseling sessions, and through speaking engagements.