Rev. Laura Martin
I was born in a place of front porch conversations, fresh blackberries, and unlocked doors 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 individuals experiencing chronic homelessness and untreated mental health issues. The work was a ministry for me that showed me each day both the divine sparks in the world and the places of breaking. 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.
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. 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, and joined the staff in 2015. I was drawn to the church for its dynamic social action work, its provocative preaching, creative worship, justice-leading and music. 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.
Currently I serve on the steering committee of the Arlington Interfaith Network, as Vice Chair of the Alliance for Housing Solutions, on the UCC Palestine-Israel Network, and on the steering committee of Interfaith Power and Light. My favorite way to relax is with a good run, and time with my miniature goldendoodle, Finn.