Dr. Swanzi Saunders, or Pastor Swanzi as she is affectionately called, is the Senior Pastor of Valencia Christian Center. At the heart of her ministry and calling is a passion and commitment for helping others grow toward wholeness and victorious living as they follow Jesus Christ. For more than three decades, she has touched many lives through church ministry, speaking, counseling, and education. Her message inspires and motivates hearers by effectively applying the principles of the Word of God to the issues of life. She holds the conviction that to live less than victoriously as a believer is to live beneath one’s privilege.
In addition to the pastoral role, Pastor Swanzi is a licensed professional clinical counselor who also has a deep desire for helping to enhance the quality of life for couples and families by providing the tools necessary for building relationships as well as the whole person – body, soul and spirit. Also, as a credentialed former educator, advisor, and school program administrator, she has worked in the field of adult education and has written for several publications, including curriculum for several parent education courses for the parents of children in the school district of greater Los Angeles.
Pastor Swanzi’s education includes undergraduate studies from LIFE Pacific College, a professional designation in journalism from UCLA, and graduate degrees in both theology and psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary. In addition to church ministry, she is currently conducting research that explores the lived experiences of spousal caregivers caring for partners with Alzheimer’s disease or other dementia.
Born in New York, NY and raised in Los Angeles, CA, she is the first of eight sisters and one brother. She is also the proud wife of Jim Saunders. Together, they are the proud parents of four adult children, Tosca Saunders-Stepter, Donald Saunders, Ronald Saunders, and Marlon Saunders, all of whom are married with beautiful children of their own. Pastor Swanzi and her husband, Jim, are the doting grandparents of six grandsons and two granddaughters.