Pastor & Staff
Meet our staff. To know them is to love them.
Rev. Laura Dunlap
Walnut Grove UMC welcomed Rev. Laura Dunlap as its new pastor as of July 1, 2020. Rev. Dunlap has been in ministry for over 14 years with experience in a variety of settings. She is excited to be serving Walnut Grove UMC! Pastor Laura looks forward to seeing how the Holy Spirit will continue to move at Walnut Grove. She enjoys preaching and equipping laity to serve in ministry. In her spare time, Pastor Laura enjoys spending time with family, seeing what new adventures are on her horizon, and trying out new restaurants for takeout.
Director of Christian Formation
Amanda has been the Director of Christian Formation since January 2017. She is an Orange County native who grew up on her family's farm in the Orange Grove community. Her favorite part of the job is working with the youth. Witnessing teenagers worship Christ and gain an understanding of the Bible is worth every sleepless lock-in and prank-filled trip. During her spare time, Amanda enjoys spending time with her 2 nieces and 3 nephews. Due to the fact that Amanda tragically killed an aloe plant from neglect several years ago, she's chosen not to have children or pets at this time.
Director of Music
Leigh has served as the Music Director at Walnut Grove UMC since June 2001. She provides leadership to the Sanctuary Choir (adults), Hallelujah Choir (children) and various instrumental groups. She also leads the music for the Contemporary Worship Service which includes the Praise Band and Singers. Originally from the foothills of North Carolina, she has served in several capacities such as organist, accompanist, choir director and pianist for a campground ministry (complete with a snake). As a former elementary school nurse in the Orange County Schools, Leigh's favorite part of the job is working with children. In her spare time, she enjoys camping, swimming and taking care of her 2 grandsons as well as her 2 dogs, Petey and Daisy.
Kim is the newest member of the staff, joining the WGUMC family in January of 2021.
She is an Orange County native, having grown up in Hillsborough.
In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family. She most enjoys time with her 2 children and 2 grandchildren.
Lorraine has served faithfully at Walnut Grove UMC as the organist since 1975. During a portion of this time, she also served as choir director and accompanist. She is a former middle school music teacher and program coordinator for at-risk children in the local school system. In addition to her musical duties at church, Lorraine is currently a local realtor. One of her spiritual gifts is that of evangelism and she loves to be a witness to all she meets. She grew up on the family farm in Hurdle Mills near the church with her 3 brothers, one of which is her twin. She has one son, James.
Savannah Wright is a rising third-year student at Duke Divinity School, hoping to be ordained in the United Methodist Church as an elder. She is originally from Birmingham, Alabama, and graduated from Furman University in Greenville, SC in 2015 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Religion. Savannah is recently married to her wonderful husband, Noah, who is also in divinity school and is working at Mt. Bethel UMC in Bahama. She looks forward to working at Walnut Grove this summer!
Ferrell grew up in a little rural town called Moultrie in South Georgia, but she’s lived in Atlanta, Birmingham, and now Durham. She moved to Durham in 2019 to begin her Master of Divinity at Duke Divinity School. She always knew she wanted to do something in ministry since she was just a kid, and for a long time she told her parents she wanted to be a “preacher on a motorcycle.” After riding a motorcycle and realizing how scary it is, she received a bachelor’s degree in Religion and fell in love with studying who God is.
While her goal is to one day teach Old Testament in a college setting, she is open to how the Lord might use her in ministry, and she can’t wait to serve alongside the wonderful people here. When not reading or translating, Ferrell is playing with her Boykin Spaniel, Peggy, or putting together a puzzle.