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 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 3 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.
Abby is returning for a second internship at Walnut Grove after receiving such a warm welcome into the community during the 2021-22 school year! Abby has completed three years of the four-year MDIV/MSW dual degree program at Duke Divinity School and the UNC School of Social Work and is looking forward to completing her degrees within the next year. She enjoys learning and talking about how people understand their spirituality and the beautiful complexity of being embodied. Abby loves cooking new recipes, so don't be surprised when she asks for your favorites.
Lauren Welch Birch
Lauren is excited to serve at Walnut Grove this summer as an intern from Duke Divinity School. She's a rising second-year at Duke where she's pursuing her Masters of Divinity. Previously, Lauren worked as Communications Manager at parachurch nonprofit Christianity Explored Ministries. At Walnut Grove, she looks forward to learning about and participating in the many ministries and communities within the church. In her free time, Lauren enjoys baking, reading and hiking with her husband, Andrew.