Reverend Laura Stern


Laura Stern is Tarheel born, learning to ride her trike and then bike around the campus of UNC-Chapel Hill. Laura hopped around for her schooling, spending her freshman year at Duke University, then transferring to Georgetown University, where she graduated with a BA in History. Prior to coming to Soapstone in 2015, Laura served as pastor of Ocracoke UMC on Ocracoke Island, NC and as associate pastor of Millbrook UMC in Raleigh.

After college, Laura landed a job as a high school history teacher in Boston, Massachusetts. It was that year she felt a call to ministry and enrolled at Harvard Divinity School. One year later she returned south to complete her M. Div. degree at Candler School of Theology at Emory University. With so many moves for schools, she feels she was well set up for the lifestyle as an itinerant Methodist minister.

Laura shares that she loves what she does, being a pastor. She has the opportunity to bring an ancient text to life in worship each week and to minister to people in the most memorable chapters of their lives. She loves the ebb and flow of church life, the support of a church family, and the challenges and opportunities of this holy calling. She quickly admits that the most important thing to know about her role as lead pastor at Soapstone is that she doesn’t have it all figured out. She doesn’t know the inner workings of the Trinity or the exact timeline for salvation. However, she does know the work she does matters, and the work of the church is important, transformative, and life-giving.

Laura affectionately refers to her family as her partners in crime. They include her husband, Andrew, a professor of Religion at NC Wesleyan College in Rocky Mount, and her three children: daughter, Gretchen, who is an avid reader and writer; son Nicholas, who loves anything in LEGO form; and son Charlie, who is convinced he is an actual superhero. Laura loves to travel and spends her down time with her children which enables her to spend time (socially acceptable of course) eating ice cream cones, watching silly movies and spending afternoons at the park.ashes-to-go-Starbucks