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Welcoming Laura Pennock: Our New Utah Expansion Minister

Welcome from the SLC Pastor Leadership Team​

As the Salt Lake City pastor leadership team, we are thrilled to a welcome Laura Pennock as the new Utah Expansion Minister, joining our team to further our mission and ministry in our the vibrant communities. Laura brings a wealth of experience, a deep commitment to spiritual leadership, and a passion for creating inclusive and welcoming spaces for all seekers.

As our Utah Expansion Minister, Laura will play a crucial role in supporting existing congregations, small groups, emerging congregations, and new seekers. Her focus will be on cultivating a culture of radical hospitality, creating safe spaces for spiritual exploration, and journeying alongside seekers, new disciples, and leaders alike. We are especially excited about Laura’s dedication to establishing and supporting child and youth ministries, including supporting events with our local congregations, and youth camping programs.

Laura’s journey to this role has been marked by a deep sense of groundedness and connection to her community. As a member of the pastor leadership team in Salt Lake City and a priest within our congregation, Laura has demonstrated her commitment to servant leadership and fostering relationships built on inclusivity and understanding.

Having come from a background in Mormonism, Laura’s spiritual journey led her to find a welcoming space within Community of Christ, where she could explore and express her faith freely. Her decision to accept the call to priesthood within our faith community reflects her rejection of traditional notions of hierarchy and exclusivity, instead emphasizing the importance of ministry rooted in compassion, support, and non-judgmental listening.

Outside of her spiritual endeavors, Laura is also a licensed paralegal practitioner specializing in family law. Through her practice at Penn Legal, LLC, she has provided affordable legal assistance to individuals navigating the complexities of family law matters, prioritizing empathy, understanding, and advocacy for her clients’ rights and well-being.

Despite facing challenges and overcoming obstacles in her personal and professional life, Laura’s resilience and determination shine through. In her roles as a counselor, legal practitioner, and priest, she embodies the values of compassion, integrity, and service, making a positive impact on both individuals and communities alike.

We are deeply grateful for the groundwork laid by Tyler Marz and his dedication to fostering growth and cooperation between our congregations in Utah. As we welcome Laura into this new role, we look forward to the continued expansion of our ministry and the transformation of lives through the power of community, faith, and love.

Please join us in extending a warm welcome to Laura Pennock as our Utah Expansion Minister, and let us journey together as we embrace the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

With Love and Peace, 

Brittany Mangelson, Pastor 

Michelle Phillips, Jason Eyre, and Joanna Smith, Pastoral Counselors 

Laura's Reflections: Thoughts on New Beginnings

I have just entered my first few days as the Utah Expansion Minister. I have a lot of thoughts about it. 

Here are some things I see happening in the world: the ways in which people engage with religious institutions is changing, which demands that we change the way we exist and move in the world as a religious institution.

There is a cosmic shift that is happening that I can’t exactly put my finger on, but I know it’s bigger than any of us. It demands that we spend the energy to listen actively to suss out the questions Seekers are asking that they don’t know they are asking because they don’t always know what they are looking for. Do any of us always know what we are looking for?

We need to be a front that is united in our diversity; we need to follow the Shepherd rather than try to be the shepherd. That requires the humility to be flexible, to know when to step forward and lead and when to step back to allow others to grow into leadership.

I have run across two things lately that I hope will inform my ministry going forward: One is a passage by Holly Welker from her essay, “Leap Year.” “In Mormonism (as in many branches of Christianity), virtue is what you cultivate so that God will love and bless you rather than what you cultivate so that you will love and bless others – or yourself, for that matter.” (emphasis added)

The second is from Steve Veasy’s essay, “Metamorphosis.”  “A portion of the church, especially in the Western world, still thinks the question that people are asking in the world is, ‘Which church is true?’ That’s not been the question for a long time. The question that people are asking is, ‘How does your church offer me support for spiritual growth in loving community with others, especially those who may be different from me?’”

As I reflect on the task ahead, my prayer is taken from Psalm 23:

Be my shepherd so that I do not want.

Lead me to green pastures,

Show me the still water.

Restore my soul and lead me into paths of righteousness

For I sometimes I walk in the valley of the shadow of death and I fear.

Be with me.

Comfort me.

Prepare a table for me that I may rejoice in your abundance.

Anoint my head with the oil of wisdom.

Make my cup run over with grace.

Illuminate my path forward with goodness and mercy that I may dwell in your house forever.


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