Laura Southerland

Social Media Ministry, Dir. of Communications, A/V Production Ops, & Still Photographer

​Born and raised in Southern Pines, Laura is a lifelong SoPinesUMC member. Her first paying job was feeding Mrs. Jane Dillon’s cat, Snickers! Laura was an active youth member, from being an acolyte to attending youth group and singing in the youth choir. She may have even played the handbells once or twice, but being active locally wasn’t enough. At the state level, she represented SoPines UMC as the church’s ACS delegate and was elected as an ACS youth officer multiple times. After college at UNCW, Laura spent the next 15 years in Event / Live Broadcast Operations before packing up & moving back home to Southern Pines.

“I am so excited to showcase our AMAZING church to the community, to share all our WONDERFUL acts of service, and to INSPIRE those to lead a life of discipleship and service. The church has always been there for me and now it’s my turn!”

Taylor Hickey

Director of Music |


Senior Pastor


Tommy and his wife, Susan, came to Southern Pines in June, 2008 from Rosemary UMC in Roanoke Rapids, N.C., where Tommy served nine years. In addition to Rosemary UMC, Tommy has served: Littleton UMC, Hatteras Charge UMC, Edenton UMC, and First UMC Siler City.  Tommy enjoys music, the outdoors, and any opportunity he gets to ride his motorcycle.

Tommy's wife, Susan, is a registered nurse and works at FirstHealth of the Carolinas Moore Regional Hospital.  They have six children together and seven grandchildren: Brandon of Roanoke Rapids, NC; Laura Grace and Katie of Providence, RI; Joshua and his wife, Natalie, and granddaughters Emma Kate and Laura of Winterville, NC; Meredith and her husband, John Slazas, and grandsons John Hanes and Jackson of Cameron, NC; Alice Hope and her husband, PO3 Kevin Spragins, and granddaughters Julianne and Lynnley of Camden, NC; and Lee of Durham, NC.

As our Senior Pastor, Tommy seeks to help our congregation define and live into a bold vision for ministry. As we seek to fulfill our mission, “To Make Disciples of Jesus Christ by connecting people to God, to others and to the world.” Our belief is that God has empowered us to fling open our doors to serve our community and God’s world.  As disciples of Jesus Christ, we are sent out to live by faith, to be known by love and to be a light of hope!


SoPines UMC Treasurer |​​


Little People Loving and Learning Preschool Director


Nanette martin 

Administrative Secretary | ​

Nanette Martin was born in East Meadow, NY, but was educated here in Moore County. She has an Associate Degree from Sandhills Community College and enjoys her job as Administrative Secretary at the Southern Pines United Methodist Church.

"Working here is a blessing because I have a chance to utilize my Christian beliefs and practices. Working for SPUMC, a church that is very active in sharing Christ's Peace and Love is a wonderful experience."

Ways to #WorshipWithUs:

9AM Contemporary/Stream & 11 AM Traditional/Stream

Click to #WatchUsLive (website)

alan daubenspeck 

Accompanist / Praise Band | 

Alan has thirty plus years experience in worship Christ through music; piano, guitar, bass, organ, vocals, choral directing, arranging and composition. He graduated from Morehead State University, Morehead, Kentucky with a Bachelor of Music Education degree. He earned his Master of Music/ Media degree from the University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida.

In addition to serving our church, Alan teaches music at Sandhills Theatre Arts Renaissance School in Vass, N.C. He also is a member of the Sandhills Community College Jazz Band, Heart of Carolina Jazz Band, Audio Engineering Society and the Vass Lion’s Club. Alan and his wife, Debra, have two children: Brandon and Bridget.

     Staff     Location     Beliefs

Southern Pines United Methodist Church 


PHONE:  910-692-3518

FAX:        910-692-5875


Claire Butler

Director of Children's Ministry |

We are so excited to welcome Claire Butler to SoPines UMC as our Director of Children's Ministry.
Claire was born in Sanford and lived with her brother, Mom, and Dad until she enrolled at NCSU for an Elementary Education degree. After teaching for a year in Cary she moved to Southern Pines where she married Sean Butler and joined SoPinesUMC. Claire is a homeschooling mom to her children Ryder (11), Webb (8), and Maclaine (6). They live on a farm in West End where we enjoy our goats, ducks, dog Marley and all the other wonderful creatures that make their home here. She values her time outside, soaking up God’s beautiful creation! 

Elias ballew

Associate Pastor |

I grew up in Roanoke Rapids NC and went to NC State for undergrad. After some time in the Marine Corps and working in non-profit work. I began working in ministry in 2019 as a youth pastor commuting back and for the between Cary and Sanford. I attended Duke for seminary in 2019 and graduated in 2022. I also worked at St James UMC in Raleigh during my time in seminary as a youth pastor. 

I began my first appointment here in July 2022 as the associate pastor. I am excited to work with the youth group here and to shepherd them in their faith journey and to connect them to God, the church, and to the conference. I love leading worship, preaching, and presiding over the table. 

In my free time, I enjoy running and working out. I also enjoy hiking, playing disc golf, and taking trips to beautiful places in the area and around the world. I have an older brother Caleb, a twin sister Olivia, and two cats Cal and Hobbes.