Rev. Laura C. Cannon, Senior Minister / President
Rev. Laura, an Ellicott City native, has been ministering to individuals and couples for over a decade, and created SOUL Community Church as a place where all members can feel supported in their desire to connect with their own divinity and creativity. Raised in the Christian church, Rev. Laura grew up with a love of Jesus Christ and the feeling of community and connectedness that church gave her. After an incident in her teens on a church retreat left her questioning both her church and her faith, she found herself struggling to find a way to reconcile her close personal relationship with Jesus and the seemingly unforgiving dogma of the Church. A period of staunch Atheism followed, until one night in 2001 when Laura had a spiritual “re-awakening” that connected her back to her own self-realized relationship with the Divine. It was at that point that God called her into ministry through a unique and unorthodox path that has included the study and practice of Christianity, Native American Spirituality, the Healing Arts, Yoga, Buddhism, and Eastern Philosophy.
Rev. Laura became an ordained minister in the early 2000’s to facilitate her work with hospice patients, and received her Master’s Degree in Human Sciences with a specialized certificate in Thanatology, the study of death and dying. She is a Certified Mindfulness Meditation Teacher (CMT-P) and a member of the International Mindfulness Teachers Association (IMTA). She is a Certified Buddhist Meditation Teacher, through the Buddhist Studies Institute. Laura has been blessed to study with many fabulous teachers, including Diego, Pema Khandro Rinpoche, Tara Brach, Jack Kornfield, Pema Chodrön, Howie Cohn, Eckhart Tolle, Adyashanti and many others. She has also taken the Bodhisattva vow through intensive retreat with Lama Surya Das in the Dzogchen tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. She is also the author of The Conscious Entrepreneur: A Guide to Maximizing Your Potential for Success, Freedom, and Happiness.
Never one to shy away from life’s deepest questions, the past twenty years of Rev. Laura’s life have been a period of deep self-exploration, teaching, healing, and love that has involved apprenticing and studying with spiritual teachers, ministers, healers and shamans from across the globe. “I was called to build SOUL Community Church as a place that would nurture that sense of community and fellowship often associated with church, but without handing down of a rigid set of rules and dogma. It is my heart’s desire to co-create a thriving, supportive community where we can all realize our own true nature and assist each other in our individual and collective pursuits towards self-realization, oneness, universalism, and love.”
Arianne has been a thinker, questioner, and dreamer since she was a child. Raised as a Southern Baptist, she was surrounded by church, community, and powerful music throughout her youth.
After life events lead her to a separation from her formal faith, she never stopped searching for a belief that rang true in her soul. Lingering in this undetermined space allowed for a deeper questioning of life, humanity, compassion, and connectedness. Her curiosity for the tangibility of beliefs, proof of a higher power, and deepening understanding of the universe, ultimately led her to a place where science and divinity intertwined.
“Energy cannot be created or destroyed, it can only be changed from one form to another.” – Albert Einstein.
Through intense reflection and internalization of the profoundness of this message, she was able to find a belief that resonated purely: Simply, energy never dies and energy is everything.
She continues her research of this fundamental truth as it applies to the varied facets of humans, animals, plants, earth, and the cosmos, as well as its applications in psychology, sociology, physiology, and religion. She continues to bring these energies into the physical realm through her art, poetry, writings, and music.
Arianne has completed meditation training from The Awareness Training Institute in association with The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley and leads small group meditation. One of her favorite quotes by Hermann Hesse serves as a potent reminder: “Within you there is a stillness and a sanctuary to which you can retreat at any time and be yourself.”
Rev. Evan Reitmeyer
Growing up in the United Methodist Church, Evan fostered a lifelong passion for the spiritual and mystical dimensions of life. As a young man, his spiritual path expanded to include Eastern Philosophy, Theoretical Physics, Western Esotericism, Mystical Poetry, and a deep love of the universal truth within each of the world’s religions. After a series of life-changing events in his early- and mid-30’s, Evan committed himself to Ahimsa, or non-violence, and dedicated his life to the service of Peace.
A strong believer in the necessity for a direct, personal connection to the divine nature of reality, Rev. Evan’s philosophy and writings center around personal responsibility and spiritual discernment. “I firmly believe that each of us is born with the capability for awakening within us, and a more fulfilling relationship with the divine is possible when we find our own answers to our deepest questions. The most powerful lessons are never those that can be taught, they are the ones which must be learned through direct experience. Life itself is our greatest teacher – everything we need to know is already inside us if we are brave enough to look.”
Since he was very young, Steve has felt drawn to the spiritual and philosophical underpinnings of life. He grew up in the Presbyterian faith, but he consistently found himself feeling alienated from many of its core doctrines. He decided to search on his own for answers to the central questions about humanity and our relation to the universe.
After exploring much of Western and Eastern philosophy and religion, with a distinct focus on Buddhism and Taoism, as well as undergoing a life-altering series of near-death experiences, Steve has come to understand that a place of “not-knowing” can be a perfect place to be. “We are here as opposed to not being here, which is a miracle. Internalizing this sense of wonder about all of existence and living from a place of peace, love, creativity, and freedom is what life is ultimately about. We are all connected through simply being alive here and now, together.”