I’m New to the District: Laura Jones

posted on November 06

     Wisdom, love, and innovation! Those three words come to mind when I reflect on my conversation with Laura Jones, Pastor at Fines Creek UMC in Clyde, NC.

Here are Pastor Laura’s answers to a few questions that I asked:

Who are the most important people in your life? Of course God. And my grown daughter and son, my grandchildren, and my friends. 

What was your journey to the ministry? I was born knowing God. I always knew I’d be doing his work. I taught special needs out of college. Most of my work has been outside of church. I’ve worked for nonprofits and other organizations. I was one of the first to train with the SHALOM Initiative. I had a dream at 4 years old about going to Africa. Well, at 44, I went. I’ve done grassroots work in Charleston SC, and in places as far away as Meru, Kenya.  I have been very busy. Now I live a solid, contemplative life. My spirituality is steeped in what we’ve learned from the desert fathers and mothers. 

What do you enjoy about being a pastor? I love the preaching. Particularly, the preparation leading up to the moment. I love academics and research. Equally, I enjoy loving on people and I enjoy the reciprocation. Everyone needs community. 

What’s the congregation like at Fines Creek? It's a small country church. There are dairy farms all around. 2/3 of attendees live in Waynesville, Canton, Clyde, etc. It’s a charming place. There’s a community center right down the street. 

What activities/service projects do you rally around? We do lots of local service projects. We give what we have. We are the first to meet community needs. And I do lots of pastoral care. 

What has been your most memorable occurrence, so far? It was Homecoming in August. There are usually 10-15 in worship, but 50 came! We introduced the idea of a dinner church sought the required signatures. 100% signed the form to do dinner church! 

Do you have a dream for the church? We applied for a dinner church grant. We are planning to use community center - integrating the church into the life of the community. I hope that reflects our willingness to be innovative and to be involved in community life. 

      I'm always encouraged by the conversations that I have with clergy who are new to the district. God is still calling courageous and loving shepherds to care for God’s Church. We  are grateful that leaders like Laura Jones in the Smoky Mountain District. 

-D’Andre Ash
Communications Coordinator
Smoky Mountain District

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