In 2013 I was looking to hire someone who would be up for a different kind of challenge in the church I was serving at the time in McMinnville. This church was doing things in a way that encouraged community, serving God in different and accessible ways and putting their money where their mouth was. They had developed a program that had gone from doling out the pastor’s discretionary fund to giving emergency funding to people and funneling thousands of dollars directly to those in desperate need. In 2013 it was time to take it to the next level and I proposed to do something that churches rarely did. I proposed to hire a Director of Development for the church and for this budding non profit. This person would be unapologetically inclusive, direct and honest, would need to have a big compassionate heart and willing to say yes more than no and at the end of the day be willing to raise funds for those who needed it most.
I put out the call for resumes and Lauri answered the call. When she saw it, she knew that God wanted her in this spot at this time. When she applied, from Utah nonetheless, my hiring team and I knew that she was just the right person for this job. She would be moving her family, taking a paycut and coming without knowing McMinnville at all but she knew in her bones this was it and we knew she was the person for us so we opened up our arms and promised to try to make the transition smooth.
When Lauri and Whitney arrived, they melded right into the community. Whitney, her wife, is an amazing artist also with a great big heart and a mind towards community. Lauri and I instantly became the best of co workers and friends. I have never worked with someone who can mesh as well with me…it is a rare combination of boundaries and mind reading in our working relationship. Lauri became my other half in our work life. We both had the vision of how to care for the margins and when to say yes and when to say no. We both are bold in saying how we feel about the houseless especially and are willing to take action but also get our hands really dirty in that work. We both are willing to go to the mats for all sorts of people.
Lauri has strength and fortitude that people only dream of and she is innovative in whatever it is that she does. She has inherent wisdom that hasn’t been learned from books but by the world and something deep inside of her. She is incredibly loyal but also willing to see what the world holds for her. She is a force that is used for transforming the world in positive ways.
When I left McMinnville Cooperative Ministries in 2015, Lauri and I committed to being deep friends with one another. We both grieved having to leave our working partnership but she is someone I can always turn to for anything. I was honored to be in Lauri and Whitney’s wedding in 2016 and she has shown up for me in so many ways. In 2016 we also made a New Year’s resolution to run a 5k a month for the entire year and by God, we did it…together. We have dressed up in 80s gear together, run 5ks through ice and incredible heat, we have stayed in tents next to our houseless people, gone wine tasting, been through family stuff together, through losses and gains, jobs and moves, and still we make sure to check in when we can. Even though they have moved to Bend and I to Berlin, I would say Lauri is one of my dearest friends because when we see each other it is like we have never been apart.
And again, just the beginning of who this incredible person is…:)