Pastor Laura Messer

I grew up in Topeka, KS and have been a life-long Presbyterian.  My mother had me baptized at First Presbyterian Church in Topeka as an infant, and I grew up there participating in Sunday school, family events, VBS, and eventually confirmation and youth group.  I was very active in the church as a teen and enjoyed serving on youth council for my church and presbytery, participating in annual mission trips, attending Montreat youth conference, and becoming a youth deacon.  From a young age, I was nurtured by mentors in the church who suggested that I might have a call to ministry.

I attended Westminster College in Fulton, MO and continued to invest my time and energy in campus ministry and summer camp programs, serving as a counselor at Heartland Presbyterian Camp for two summers and working as an intern and worship leader for our campus ministry throughout my college years.  During my senior year, my college chaplain invited me and several other students on a road trip to explore divinity school and seminary options.  Her encouragement and guidance eventually led me to my decision to attend Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary after earning my Bachelor’s in Creative Writing in 2014.  I knew I was being called to seminary, but I needed an academic break.  After graduation, I moved home to Topeka and worked for a little over a year as the Coordinator of Children and Youth Ministries at my home church.  In the summer of 2014, I had the opportunity to serve as a YAAD at General Assembly in Detroit – a highlight of my PC (USA) career!  I did many fun things as the coordinator for children and youth, but I especially enjoyed leading mission trips, VBS, and guiding a wonderful group of teens through confirmation.

In the fall of 2015, I moved down to Austin and began my seminary journey.  Seminary was a formative and challenging time.  I enjoyed exploring difficult theological questions and biblical languages.  I made wonderful friends and met my partner.  It was a time of fellowship, learning, and self-discovery.  However, as I progressed through my coursework, I still wasn’t sure exactly how I was feeling called to serve the church.  I was interested in chaplaincy, parish ministry, and non-profit work, but it was unclear which path felt like the best fit for me.  I took the slow route through the ordination process and decided to take my time so that I could be sure that I was on the right path when I did finally pursue ordination full-steam.

When I graduated from seminary in 2018, I moved home-ish to Kansas City and spent some time working as a children’s ministry coordinator before returning to Texas in my current role as the Pastoral Resident at First Presbyterian Church in Cuero.  [Previous to Laura coming to Silver Lake.] Here, I have had ample opportunity to experience what life is like as a small-town pastor.  I have been blessed to lead worship each week, assist with communion, weddings, funerals, and all sorts of church events.  I’ve helped shepherd a group of faithful people through the uncertainty of Covid-19, and I had time to reflect on my call as I completed my ordination requirements.  I passed my final ordination exam in April and was certified ready to receive a call in May of 2021.  During my time in Cuero, I have become passionate about preaching heartfelt sermons, providing pastoral care to all the members of my community, and creating a warm, welcoming environment for people to explore and grow in their faith.  I have enjoyed my 5 years in Texas exploring taco trucks, live music venues, and natural wonders like Barton Springs, and I am so excited to discover where God is calling me to serve next!