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Oakland Church of the Brethren Logo
Oakland Church of the Brethren Logo Icon

The Brethren Mission

Brethren, we will passionately live and share the radical transformation and holistic peace of Jesus Christ through relationship-based neighborhood engagement. To move us forward, we will develop a culture of calling and equipping disciples who are innovative, adaptable, and fearless.”



Oakland Church of the Brethren Interim Pastor Andrew Wright Profile Image

Interim Pastor: Andrew Wright

Andrew is currently preparing the Oakland church for the arrival of its settled pastor. He enjoys being with people, sharing good conversation and telling stories. He and his wife, Debi, have three children and five grandchildren. Andrew has been in ministry over 40 years and was a doctoral advisor at Ashland Seminary and an adjunct professor at Bethany Seminary. Debi is a retired teacher. Together they enjoy the arts and the simple pleasure of being together. They look forward to the coming years with great expectation.


Paula Ulrich

Associate Pastor of Pastoral Care and Music Ministry

Paula is a 1983 graduate of Bridgewater College, with a BA in music. She completed her Master of Divinity degree with distinctions at Bethany Theological Seminary in 2008, and was ordained in 2009. Her degree included a summer unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, which she completed at Upper Valley Medical Center in Troy, OH. Previous ministries include serving as pastor of the Nettle Creek Church of the Brethren in Hagerstown, Indiana from 2009-2012; serving as a co-instructor at Bethany in the Ministry Formation program in 2011-12; and serving as a full-time pastor at the Brethren Retirement Community from 2012-2019. She has served the denomination as the Annual Conference Children’s Choir Director in 2002; the Annual Conference Chaplain in 2014; and as a Planning Team member, writing contributor, and Worship Team Co-Coordinator for the 2015, 2017, 2019, and 2021 National Older Adult Conferences. She occasionally enjoys writing devotionals for Brethren Press bulletins.

Paula and her husband Dan share two children, Genna (married to Hannah) who lives in Portland, Maine; and Rachel, who works in Richmond, Indiana. The Ulrichs live in Greenville. Paula has countless interests and “hobbies,” so it’s impossible to name them all. But she especially loves reading cookbooks, hanging laundry on the backyard clothesline in the summer, and having a fire in the woodstove in the winter – with a good book and a cup of tea.


Betty Byrd

Director of Youth Ministries

Betty has been a member of Oakland since 2007. She is married to Frank Marchal and together they have 5 children and 7 grandsons.  She has volunteered in many ways at Oakland over the years, working with children of all ages, singing in the choir, performing in dinner theater, or as a deacon.  She enjoys working with the youth of Oakland as she challenges them to be followers of Jesus by providing experiences and Brethren education and values.  When at home you will find her either in her garden or sewing room.

Oakland Church of the Brethren Staff Heather Manalo Profile Image

Heather Manalo

Director of Children’s Ministries

Heather has been attending Oakland since her childhood. She is married to her husband Jeremy and is the mother of twin boys, Asher and Eli. She served in the children’s ministry for three years before she became the director of children’s ministry in 2015. She believes this program is a top priority at Oakland. Proverbs 22:6 says “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.” She strongly believes this verse holds true to the children’s ministry at Oakland and strives to create a biblical learning environment to encourage and guide the children at Oakland in their relationship with God. It is not only the children who can learn in the children’s ministry, but the adults who can learn from the children as well.


Oakland Church of the Brethren Staff Dianna Sampsel Profile Image

Dianna Sampsel

Administrative Assistant

Dianna is the church administrative assistant for Oakland Church and has attended Oakland for many years. Not only does Dianna administer office needs; but she is the kitchen coordinator and head cook of all church-related events here at Oakland. With her love of cooking, Dianna has begun a small catering business and does special occasion cakes. If you don’t find her in our kitchen, you will see her preparing and cooking to feed the hungry at the Grace Resurrection Community Center in Greenville.

Dianna also loves to read and garden. She is married to Patrick Samsel and has three adult children; Rick, Charlie, and Lizzy. She also has two grandchildren, Calvin and Elden.


Mike Hogg

Business Coordinator

Mike has been attending Oakland for 20 years and continues to serve as the business coordinator since 2001. He is a member of the Faithful Servants Sunday school class and the Praise Band. He enjoys worshipping at Oakland and is appreciative of all the welcoming people their belief for serving others. Mike lives in Greenville with his wife Alice. Their family includes a daughter Whitney, son-in-law Joe, and a beautiful granddaughter Brooke.

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