Our Senior Pastor

Meet Rev. Laura Katherine Stern

Pastor Laura Katherine Stern was baptized at the age of 12 at a newly planted United Methodist church in Durham, NC. The upstart congregation did not have its own building, so her baptism occurred in a makeshift font somewhere between the fiction and reference sections of a Durham public school’s media center. It was an appropriate beginning for a life of ministry committed to finding God in new and unexpected places.

In 2021, she was appointed to Apex UMC, having served in a variety of congregations, urban and suburban, small and large, in both the North Carolina and North Georgia Conferences, including four years on the Outer Banks. In all of these locations, she has brought a love of scripture, a commitment to excellence in preaching, and a heart for missions. She was the first woman appointed senior pastor of Apex UMC in its 150 year history. Over her tenure, she has led through a pandemic, re-structured the church governance, and helped the congregation toward better financial health.

A graduate of Emory University’s Candler School of Theology (M. Div) and Georgetown University (BA), Pastor Laura Katherine Stern has been in ministry for nearly twenty years. She has served as Chair of the Order of Elders for the North Carolina Annual Conference and is currently serving as an elected delegate to the Southeastern Jurisdictional Conference. In addition, she has been a regular contributor to Duke Divinity School’s on-line magazine, Faith and Leadership (faithandleadership.com).

Pastor Laura Katherine feels deeply privileged to be a pastor – to be invited into the hurts and hopes of people’s lives, to preach and teach God’s word, and to bear witness to the Holy Spirit’s work in a community of faith. She is particularly grateful to serve at Apex UMC – a church whose mission is Welcome All. Love All. Serve All.

She is married to Dr. Andrew Stern, a Professor of Religious Studies, who teaches at NC Wesleyan University in Rocky Mount. They have three children, a daughter in college (Gretchen), a high school freshman (Nicholas), a middle schooler (Charlie) and a cat named Pickles. Her family enjoys travel, movies, and playing board games together.