Senior Pastor
Brief info

Email: LaurieH@gablesucc.org
Phone: 305.448.7421, ext. 116

The Rev. Dr. Laurinda M. Hafner’s passion for prophetic ministry, the social gospel and the arts has been the mark of her vibrant ministry. Called as Senior Pastor of Coral Gables Congregational UCC in 2006, Laurie came from Cleveland, Ohio where she served as senior pastor of Pilgrim Congregational United Church of Christ, for almost 18 years. The dynamic ministry she led at Pilgrim Church has been described by Niles Harper in his book, "Urban Churches, Vital Signs: Beyond Charity Toward Justice," and by Chris Hobgood in "Welcoming Resistance." In 2000, Laurie was named by the Cleveland Plain Dealer as one of “Those Who Will Help to Shape Our Lives in the New Millennium” in the field of religion and faith. Also in 2000, Laurie planned and presided at Pilgrim Church’s Easter worship service, “Joy,” which was broadcast by ABC Television across the nation on Easter Sunday morning.

Pastor Laurie, as she is known, is presently a board member of the Collective Empowerment Group of South Florida, an organization dedicated to building communities and developing assets in Miami-Dade County; has served as chair and co-chair of MOSAIC, formerly the Miami Coalition for Christians and Jews Clergy Dialogue, the oldest interfaith dialogue in the country; served as president of P.A.C.T. (People Acting for Community Together), which seeks to promote fairness, justice, and democracy in Miami-Dade County; and is probably best known as the pastor who goes up into the Church Tower each year and stays there until at least five tons of food is collected. Over the past years she has raised more than 100 tons of food for the hungry of South Florida.

Laurie is a political science graduate of Elon University. She received her Master of Divinity Degree from Christian Theological Seminary and was awarded a Doctor of Ministry Degree from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. She was privileged to study with Father Henri Nouwen when he was at Yale Divinity School. Laurie also received an honorary doctorate from her seminary. Recently, she was awarded the Bridge Builder Award from COSMOS (Coalition of South Florida Muslim Organizations) and the Humanitarian Award from MOSAIC, formerly the Miami Coalition of Christians and Jews, the oldest interfaith clergy dialogue in the country. In 2023, she was recognized by the General Synod of the United Church of Christ as a Movement Maker for her work in reproductive justice.

She and her husband Richard are the parents of one good daughter who recently completed her master’s degree in Global Public Health from NYU and one very challenging dog who is a dropout of obedience school. In her spare time, she enjoys films, basketball, walking her dog, and finding the perfect ice cream sundae.