New pastor makes mark at Peoples Church

FRESNO, Calif. There's a new spiritual leader whose voice is filling the halls of Peoples Church in Northeast Fresno, one of the largest and most influential churches in the Valley.

"This is exciting for us. I think we're really going to enjoy having him," said congregant Ester Moultrie.

Gayle Rincon added: "It's wonderful. God has blessed us with the new leadership of our church."

After two years without senior leadership the duty has been passed to the Reverend Dale Oquist. "You know coming into this church and the great history it has and the great legacy that it welds it's been humbling how much this church has warmly accepted us," he said.

Oquist and his family moved here from Olympia, Washington.

Welcoming Oquist to his new role and visible to all in the audience was the man who held the title of senior pastor for 45 years, the Rev. G.L. Johnson.

Oquist: "I just want to take that baton and move it forward in a way that will honor the lord and honor him."

Since 1954 Peoples Church has been a leader of the Valley's faith based community. It has served as a place of celebration and most recently a place to grieve.

Thousands of people, including hundreds of law enforcement officers filled the pews to honor fallen Fresno county sheriffs deputy Joel Wahlenmaier.

There's always those times where you just want to make sure you communicate what you want to communicate and since they are just getting to know my heart now you want to make sure you use your words well.

Moultrie said, "Spiritually, I could feel the connection there."

"I think he'll fit right in," said congregant Goffrie Wells.

Rincon said: "We're starting fresh. New leadership. New beginnings. And the Lord always gives us new beginnings."

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