Rev. Joel L. Tolbert
Lead Pastor, since April 2012
Joel graduated from Mercer University Engineering School and served 12 years with corporations in Engineering, Project Management, Marketing and Sales.
In 2002, Joel, wife Jill, and three sons moved to Columbia Theological Seminary (Decatur, GA), where both Joel and Jill completed Masters of Divinity degrees.
Joel is passionate for the good news, and an authentic preacher. Joel loves us and leads us as we invite others, build up each other, and are sent out as empowered disciples.
In his free time, Joel is a devoted husband and loving father. After that, he enjoys Atlanta United games, golf, and XBox!
Rev. Christin Johnson Norman
Director of Children’s Ministry, Since October 2018
Christin is an ordained pastor in the PC(USA) and a graduate of Columbia Theological Seminary ('12). In her first call, she served as the contract interim associate at Oakhurst Presbyterian, a multicultural church in Decatur, GA. From 2013 to 2018, it was her honor and joy to serve as pastor to Woodland Presbyterian, outside of Sacramento, CA.
Her family (husband Will and toddler son Jack) moved “back east” for Will’s call as the campus minister at the Presbyterian Student Center @ UGA. They’re happy God called them to Georgia because it is home (and there's no place like the south to call 'home' when you've got an affinity for family, Southern hospitality, Chick-fil-A and black eyed peas)!
In her free time Christin enjoys live music, reading, and impromptu dance parties.
Director of Youth Ministry, since January 2019
Originally from Memphis, Chris moved to Roswell, GA with his family during his early teens. There he enjoyed year-round sports, specifically soccer, and trips to the North Georgia wilderness. Both soccer and hiking are still prominent activities in his life today.
Chris’ involvement in the Presbyterian Church began in his high school years. There he was inspired by many to live a life of faith in Christ. After years of volunteering, Chris took advantage of internship opportunities at Roswell Presbyterian Church to continue exploring his faith beliefs and his role in the church. During that time, he felt called to lead young adults and students within the Presbyterian community.
In fall 2018 Chris took on a student minister role with The Presbyterian Student Center at UGA. With this student organization Chris developed strong relationships that quickly opened his eyes to further roads in which he can be a leader in the church. This is where Chris was introduced to the Oconee Pres family.
In addition to his role with OPC, Chris continues to serve as a student minister at the Presbyterian Student Center at UGA and coaches ages 9-12 for the Oconee Futbol Club. He is currently a Marketing Management student at Athens Technical College.
Church Administrator, since January 2014.
Sherry and her husband, Dan moved to Oconee County in 2004 after being longtime residents of Conyers, Georgia.
The Sawyers’ have three grown daughters. Their initial family of five has grown to a family of thirteen with the additions of sons-in-law and grandchildren!
“After moving to the area, we spent a long time visiting different churches in Oconee and in Athens. Oconee Presbyterian was our first experience with a Presbyterian church since Dan and I had always attended Methodist churches. When we visited, we found ourselves warmly welcomed and invited in to what would become our church home.”
In late January 2014, Sherry joined the staff as office administrator.
“I feel very fortunate to worship and work at OPC.”
Director of Music Ministries, since October 2014
Dallas is a lyric tenor who has distinguished himself in several great opera houses in over forty leading roles. He has appeared in concert at Carnegie Hall, Lincoln Center, Alice Tully Hall, and Weill Recital Hall in New York City. Dallas has also appeared as soloist for many oratorio works including Handel’s Messiah, Beethoven’s 9th Symphony, and the Mozart Requiem Mass.
After fifteen years on the stage, he chose to leave the life of a traveling musician and moved to Athens. Prior to coming to OPC, Dallas served as the choir director at St. Gregory the Great Episcopal Church in Athens, Georgia for seven years. He also teaches master classes on vocal technique and interpretation and is available as an adjudicator for competitions and seminars on the art of singing. His students have received numerous awards and scholarships, and many are enjoying careers in music.
His favorite role is that of husband to his wife, Kendall, and daddy to his daughter, Chiara and son, Logan.
Church Accompanist, 2014-2018, and again since April 2019
Parish Associate, since July 2017
De has been an ordained minister for 40 years, serving churches across the southern USA. In addition, he has served as a chaplain for community service groups, an adjunct professor of religion, and a soccer coach. He has represented the church at the General Assembly, and on two different state councils of churches. De and Barbara “retired” to Athens in 2014 to be closer to their daughter who is on the staff of UGA.”