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Women To Watch: Trend Tracker® Tara Gilani With "Pastor Laurie"

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- Designed in 1923, the Coral Gables Congregational Church occupies a revered spot on the National Register of Historic places.  This sliver of heaven here on earth is majestically situated across the street from the landmark Biltmore Hotel. Divine in every way, the focus in this house of faith is on fun.

Trend Tracker® Tara Gilani caught up with the passionate pastor of the historic church for a heaven sent edition of "Women To Watch."

Click Here to watch Tara's take.

"If it's divine intervention or divine inspiration that you need, I have someone amazing you should meet…Laurie Hafner, the irreverent reverend!" said Tara.

Known as "Pastor Laurie," Reverend Doctor Laurinda Hafner is just like her church: open and affirming.

"What open & affirming means is that the church openly welcomes and affirms all people regardless even of their sexual orientation so everyone is absolutely welcome here just as they are," said Laurie.

Laurie studied political science originally but decided that a better way to touch people and help bring more peace to our world would be to serve the community as a pastor. She has loved being a reverend for 35 years. So do all her parishioners.

Being fearless and having fun helps Laurie nurture and inspire…one soul at a time.

Laurie says her greatest joy is connecting with people. "What I love most of all is the invitation that people give me into their lives," said Hafner.

I asked Laurie the question I often ask myself. :Where is God these days?"

"God is always there. We may not always recognize that and we may not always feel that or sense that, but God doesn't leave us, we leave God," she said definitively.

Pastor Laurie had a confession of her own.

"This is a dirty awful secret of my life we all have our vices some people drink some people smoke -- I watch the Real Housewives," said Hafner.

Truth? She even married one of them (Adriana de Moura) in Real life on the show last summer.

The "rebel Rev" is a fashion lover with great style. She had fab orange pumps on and a marching Burberry watch.

"Well the folks here in this church will tell you, I'm a shoe queen…I'm a preacher in pumps," said Hafner.

This fashionable pastor also has some major life lessons which she preaches.

"Let's just give one another a break. Let's just step back and understand we are all just children of the same God and no matter who we are or where we are on life's journey, that we really should admire and respect and honor each other and give each other that break."

When Gilani asked the pastor if  she would forgive her for not being a regular church-goer.

Hafner said, "Absolutely."

If you get the chance, go meet her at  Coral Gables Congregational Church, 3010 DeSoto Boulevard, Coral Gables, FL 33134.  


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