Rev. Laura Franks Benton, who we call “Pastor Lia,” is a California native, raised on the New Jersey shore, who has resided in North Carolina since college.
She received a History degree with a concentration in International Studies from Davidson College, and spent 30 years avoiding a Call to seminary. She earned her Masters of Divinity from Union Presbyterian Seminary. Meadowlake Presbyterian Church is her first Call.
In the 30 years between college graduation and seminary, Lia earned a Masters of Teaching and taught 5th grade for two years before starting a family with spouse Kevin. While raising three children, Lia volunteered at church and in their schools, sewed ballet costumes, and was certified as an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant. She worked as a lactation consultant in Pediatric and hospital settings. As a lactation consultant she worked with families and physicians to help families meet their goals for feeding their babies and optimizing health for mom and baby. It was a daily privilege to be invited in to the life of a new family at a tender time and help them learn to care for their baby.
After pilgrimages in Cuba and Spain, and miles of labyrinth walking, she finally realized she could avoid her call no longer and enrolled in seminary at 48.
A lifelong interest in women’s stories intersected with a seminary class to birth the Just Brave Enough project and website, to tell the stories of named and unnamed women in the Bible. A week at Princeton Seminary where she met the women who became the founding writers brought the project to fruition in a delightfully unexpected way.
Lia lives in Charlotte, NC with her spouse Kevin. They are the parents of three (mostly) grown children. When not working or writing, Lia can be found reading, walking, dreaming about the beach or Italy, and planning her next pilgrimage.