You never know who you are going to meet!

I never know who I am going to meet on any given project. This is what I love so much about what I do…everyone has a story to tell. When I was a journalist, I never knew on any given day where I was going to be, who I was going to meet, what story was I going to capture and tell. It brings me joy that this daily epiphany has translated into my business routine.

Laura Beach is one of those stories that is so wonderful and pure, one that restores my faith for the next wave of clergy leadership in rural North Carolina.

Way out in the middle of the country, I found my way through the windy roads where Longtown United Methodist Church was perched on a hill. Laura is the new pastor, fresh out of Duke Divinity School.

“Laura didn’t always know she wanted to be a pastor, but she has always loved life in a rural setting. She grew up in Ferrum, Va., in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, and the slower pace and strong sense of community became part of her.”

Longtown UMC is her first appointment for the United Methodist Church.

“I remember turning onto Longtown Road and thinking, ‘Oh, I’m going to fit in here. This is going to be home,’” she says.

The congregation embraces her youth and her passion. They shared their desires to be a part of the maturation process for young ministers. Their commitment to this ministry can be felt throughout the congregation…one that makes me think is the under current of the Thriving Rural Communities initiative.

I enjoyed meeting Laura and hearing more about her story. if you would like to read more about Laura, you go go The Duke Endowment’s website to learn more.

*** Excerpts from this blog post are from Laura’s Profile of Service Story on The Duke Endowment’s website, indicated in italics.