Brinda Peterson, new Oakmont Community Church pastor
By Jim Cotton
Brinda and Lee Peterson
Brinda Peterson and her husband Lee arrived at the Oakmont Community Church last September, and they have brought new style and excitement to the congregation.
Witness the large turnout at Easter where there was a full house, with so many worshipers that extra chairs had to be brought in. Everyone enjoyed the singing and music including piano, organ, violin, trumpet and men’s and women’s choirs, as well as socializing with fellow Oakmonters while tasting various delicacies before and after the services.
The Petersons are devoted to each other and to Christianity. They come from the San Joaquin Valley and are thoroughly familiar with that religious and educational community.
Brinda Peterson was raised in a secular family with little or no religious experience. Nonetheless, she was called to Christianity at age 11 and has been ardent ever since. She and Lee were high school sweethearts, marrying at age 18 and 19, and have been married for 37 years, with two children and two grandchildren.
In Peterson’s earlier years she was a registered dental assistant and owned a dental staffing agency in the Fresno area, but she has had an extensive career both in university and seminary studies, serving in multiple churches and ministries. She studied at Fresno Pacific University, majoring in Contemporary Christian Ministries and minoring in Family Counseling. The university is connected to the Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary. After graduation, Brinda interned at Northside Christian Church with a congregation of more than 3,000. She went on to serve at Selma’s First (American) Baptist Church where she was Pastor to 200 senior parishioners for seven years, followed by service as an Associate Pastor at Valley Friends Church where she was Pastor for the Senior Congregation of the church and she was able to help raise the attendance from 40 to 120 in one year.
While in school, Brinda and Lee attended approximately 50 different churches to learn the broad spectrum of liturgical styles. She provided a ministry for the Fresno Samaritan Women as a specialist in finding employment for women returning to society after prison, and provided another ministry at Selma’s Armenian Health Care Center where the average age was about 80.
Despite having two serious back injuries over a stretch of time, Lee rose to be a fleet manager responsible for 167 school busses and 220 cars, pickups and vans for the Clovis Unified School District.
Yes, the congregation at the Oakmont Community Church is delighted to welcome such happy, talented and optimistic leaders as the Petersons.