Laura Martin

I was born in a place of front porch conversations in the mountains of southwest Virginia. I grew up in a family that didn't attend church but taught me the living faith of caring for others. When I went to college at the University of Virginia, I felt called to a religious community and became part of the United Methodist Church's Wesley Foundation. On a spring break service trip with the Foundation, during a night of karaoke and poetry reading with people living on the streets, I experienced a call to work with people who were homeless. After graduation, I worked with homeless individuals in a variety of roles with a nonprofit. Most of my work focused around chronically homeless single adults with untreated mental health issues. I was invited to speak to a UCC church about my work, and my experience there was like finding a home that I hadn't known existed. I was drawn to the UCC's inclusion and extravagant hospitality. In 2009, I began to feel like I was having an incomplete conversation in my work. I longed to offer clients communion and to tell them that they were, as Desmond Tutu says, "created by love, for love." I began taking classes at Wesley Theological Seminary and became a member in discernment for ordination. Later that year, I transitioned from working with homeless singles to working with homeless families in a range of housing programs. I became an intern at Rock Spring in fall 2012. I was drawn to the church for its dynamic social action work, its provocative preaching, creative worship and music. I was also compelled by the church's commitment to inclusion--both for other faiths and the LGBT community. My ministry is steeped in love of literature and poetry, and encompasses both the real pain of Good Friday and the Resurrection-eyes through which I see the world.

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