A California East Bay native, Laura Darling has snuck away from time to time, mostly to Ohio. The first time was to attend Oberlin College where she received a degree in English with a Creative Writing emphasis. Though she started out as a Music Education major, she decided that she didn’t want to teach junior high school band and went with a much quieter and more contemplative degree. Finding that writing poetry didn’t pay the bills, however, she headed further east to Rochester, NY, where she received a degree in Educational Interpreting from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.
After working for five years as an interpreter, she finally gave in to the call to priesthood she had been feeling since becoming an Episcopalian in college. Returning to California, she received her MDiv from the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in 2001. Her path then led her back to Ohio where she founded the Episcopal chaplaincy at Kenyon College. Drawn once again by the siren song of the balmy Bay Area, she served as the Assistant Rector at Christ Church in Alameda for four years, encouraging the growth and development of its youth program, including the Riled Marmot Film Festival.
In 2008, she was selected as a Kiva Fellow and worked in Kampala, Uganda for three months, helping local microfinance institutions to receive funding for microloans through the Kiva web platform. While there, she was invited to join the St. John’s staff as the Interim Director of CnC, a position that plays to her strengths as an administrator. She became the Managing Director when Confirm not Conform became an independent non-profit in 2009.
Back in the Bay Area once more, she has no plans to leave.