Debbie Osterhoudt, Transitional Pastor
Twenty-one years ago, I began my first call as a Transitional Pastor at Oakland Presbyterian Church. As a Transitional Pastor, I am called to support, encourage, and resource congregations as they navigate change. I love to sail, having been taught by my father as a child, so I believe that much of navigating change is learning to discern the direction from which the wind (or as Christians, the Holy Spirit) is blowing. And adjusting our sails to catch the wind! And now, several decades later, I have returned to Oakland to help to navigate this new transition in pastoral leadership.
I was raised a Presbyterian in Atlanta, Georgia. My parents were both ordained as elders and serving the church was a way of life and a priority in my family. I attended Vanderbilt University (Class of 1978) and received my Master of Divinity degree from Columbia Theological Seminary in Atlanta (Class of 1986). I was ordained to the Ministry of Word and Sacrament in 1986 at the Hudson Memorial Presbyterian Church in Raleigh, NC. Since 1986, I have served churches primarily in the Triangle area as pastor, associate pastor, and transitional pastor. My love for ministry began, and still is, with youth ministry and Christian Education, coupled with outreach/mission ministries. I believe that our Christian faith grows and deepens when we wed biblical study with “putting feet” to our faith.
I live in Wilson, NC, around the corner from my son, his wife, and 3 children, ages 8,10, and 13 years. My husband died 6 years ago, so my housemates are a 2 year old Shih-poo and a 12 year old golden retriever. I have a daughter, son-in-law, and 3 year old grandson who live in Knightdale. I enjoy hiking, gardening, theater, traveling, and sailing!!
Sarah Leonard, Coordinator of Family Ministry
Sarah and her husband, Edward, have lived in Johnston County since 2007. They began
attending Oakland in 2010 shortly after learning they would be expecting their first child since they both wanted to raise their family in the church. Little did they know that God intended to grow them up in the church as well, as Sarah and Edward both quickly became involved members of Oakland and felt the flame for serving and discipleship grow in them. In 2016, Sarah joined the Oakland Staff as the Office Administrator and Children’s Ministry Coordinator.
She served and grew tremendously in that role over the 4 years she held it, and now is looking forward to taking on new challenges in an expanded full-time ministry role as Oakland’s Children’s and Youth Ministry Director. Sarah and Edward enjoy finding new ways to follow the Lord together with their two little rascals, Liam and Sam. They also love finding time to enjoy the outdoors, taking trips all over but especially to amusement parks to ride rollercoasters, and playing games together whether it be a board game or video games.
I am so excited to see all that God has planned for me and Oakland as I step into my new role as the Children’s and Youth Ministries Director. God has been shaping and growing me for this position over the last 4 years while I served as Oakland’s Office Administrator and Children’s Ministry coordinator, and through my years of service with Bible Study Fellowship. I love serving people, showing the love of God through my actions, and getting to share Bible stories and lessons with the kids of all ages at Oakland. I believe that our relationship with Jesus is a model for our relationships with others, and I love having opportunities to grow those relationships and make connections at all our family events from Sunday school classes, to Vacation Bible School, to family night out activities. It is in our everyday moments that we grow closer to each other and closer to God as we learn to see God in everything.
Kate Swift, Church Administrator
Kate was raised in North Raleigh, graduated from Sanderson High School, and then went on the graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. She is married to her husband Ben and they have twins Autumn and Logan. Kate and her family have been attending Oakland since 2016 and officially joined in the summer of 2017.
I feel blessed to not only be a member of Oakland but also on the staff team as well. I get to be one of the faces and voices doing God’s work here at Oakland. One of my passions in life is helping people, serving people, and communicating with others and this job allows me to do all three and for the glory of God.
Cheryl Jordain, Nursery Attendant
Cheryl Jordain has been a member at Oakland for 8 years, and in that time she has loved on all of the babies and kids for Oakland. With over 30 years of experience working with children in schools and daycares, Cheryl is excellently trained to staff our nursery every Sunday morning and during our other events as needed. She is certified in CPR, First Aid, and SIDS training just to name a few of the many trainings she has attended and maintained over the years.
Cheryl has two wonderful grown children who live in the area that she is able to see and spend time with regularly. When she is not spending time with family or the kids at Oakland, she enjoys crafting, reading, and playing games. She also LOVES all kinds of animals.
Cheryl would love to help your child(ren) to get their first look at God during their time in our nursery. She takes the time each Sunday to get on the floor and play with the kiddos while also showing and telling them of God’s amazing love!