2011 Ridge Rd.
Raleigh, NC 27607


Sunday Service
10:00 a.m.

Our Clergy

Christine Williamson

Doug Hammack

Founding Minister

Doug has been a minister a long time. Which is surprising given that he …

… has been excommunicated once,

… was fired from his first minister gig,

… is deeply disillusioned with organized religion,

… cusses from time to time.

Doug moved to Raleigh in 1995 from a megachurch in L.A., gathered a bunch of also-disillusioned folks, and started Common Thread. They spent years, not being a church, but a lab, trying to figure church out. They tried new ideas, new practices, tweaked stuff, then did it all again. Then Doug wrote a book about what they’d learned—which got him excommunicated, and our building taken away.

But, we do have a healthy way to be spiritual community.

It’s not perfect. But we love what we have.

And now Doug’s old.

At the age when old men plant trees they’ll never sit under.

He’s working to ensure Common Thread’s future.

And to give away what we’ve learned.

Cindy Appleby

Sue Kemple

Executive Pastor

Sue was ordained to ministry in 2024, which is surprising given that she …

… once believed that she’d never leave the Roman Catholic Church

… left the Roman Catholic Church and believed she’d never leave the Episcopal Church

… realized she was gay, left the Episcopal Church, returned to the Roman Catholic Church, then left it again, figuring that all of institutionalized Christianity was such a mess that she was done with church

… cusses every now and again.

Truth is, it’s not all that surprising. Ordained ministry is what Sue has always been called to, and in many ways, she’s been answering that call all her life.

After spending a decade in her twenties as youth and pastoral care minister, serving on the parish vestry, and discerning a call to the Episcopal priesthood in Southern Pines, NC, Sue decided the timing wasn’t right for ordination. She raised two (amazing!) sons and embarked upon an eclectic career journey where, without quite realizing it, she honed many pastoral skills as a writer, teacher, principal, artistic director, business consultant, and CEO of several startups, including one in the end-of-life space where she found her desire to support people in their grief renewed and deepened. Sue has spent decades studying scripture (canonical and non-canonical), reading the mystics, and inhabiting the dark night of the soul more than once. Her faith life has alternated between working to be devout in traditional Christian contexts and deconstructing her faith to find deeper and bigger meaning. Arriving at Common Thread in 2019, both she and her beloved wife Maria found a space where they could spiritually thrive with integrity. Three years in, Sue renewed her discernment process through intense and ongoing wisdom school studies and devoting her life to ministry at Common Thread. This has led to her ordination and being called by this community as its Executive Pastor. She’d love to connect with you and learn about your spiritual journey!

Christine Williamson

Heather Luden

Minister of Spiritual Formation

Heather realized her calling to be a minister at the age of 48. Which is surprising given that she …

… was raised in a proudly secular family

… watched American Christianity implode & headed straight to grad school to study Philosophy

… felt a calling to serve but spent 20 years in church basements working with refugee settlement instead

… can count on one hand the number of years she’s been a church-goer

… cusses a whole lot.

Heather moved to Raleigh in 2011 after moving between 4 countries, 8 states, and 16 cities (army brat) before putting down roots in the CTC community in 2020. Having spent half a lifetime as a passionate but wary seeker – in churches, temples, and synagogues – she found her spiritual home when she read the words, “If you’re here, you belong,” and believed they were talking about her. She spent a few years just listening then learning what it might mean to practice a religion instead of merely studying it. She laid out her hopes and fears before Doug and accepted his blessing to aspire to be a leader in spite of them. She now considers herself to be a convert to religion with a capital R and a respectful student of Christianity. She has a special interest in reaching out to other recent “nones” (religious unaffiliated) and in being a Feminist & a Minister. Her role at CTC these days involves designing and developing Spiritual Formation programs, including the Teen and Young Adult Ministries.