Announcing our Interim Rector – The Rev. Debra J. Kissinger

The Rev. Debra J. Kissinger began her ministry as Interim Rector at The Church of the Holy Spirit, Orleans, Massachusetts on December 1, 2019.

Debra was raised in Pottsville, Pennsylvania. Prior to her calling as a priest, she worked in the marketing and money management field. She has degrees in Business Administration and Sociology from Penn State University (81) and LaSalle University, Philadelphia (88), respectively, and earned her Master of Divinity degree from Berkley Divinity School at Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (92). That same year Debra began her ordained ministry as a clergy assistant at Church of St. Barnabas, Irvington-on-Hudson, New York and then went on to serve as Vicar of St. Peter’s Church, Oxford, Connecticut (93) and Rector of Grace Church, Willoughby, Ohio (97) where she discovered her passion for redeveloping parishes and helping lay persons grow in their baptismal ministries.

From 2001-2008 Debra served on staff in the Diocese of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania as the Missioner to Children and Child Advocate focusing on lifelong Christian formation program development; local, statewide, and national advocacy; and child abuse prevention.  She was the first paid child advocate in the Episcopal Church and frequented her state capitol and Washington DC on behalf of children’s needs.

From 2008-2018 Debra served on staff in the Diocese of Indianapolis as the Canon for Transition Ministry and Leadership Development. Throughout those years Debra coached over 30 search committees, vestries, and congregations through the search/transition process. She also mentored countless newly ordained and new-to-the-diocese clergy through their time of transition as they began new ministries. Debra also serves as a bishop election search consultant for the Episcopal Church.

Now serving as an Interim, Debra brings her years of wisdom and experience from the fields of transition, parish redevelopment, formation, and baptismal ministry formation to congregations in the midst of search. Debra loves encouraging, equipping, and empowering others to be their very best in Christ’s name.

Debra is married to John Oaks who is happily retired. They look forward to exploring the local bike paths on their recumbent trikes in and around Orleans and all over Cape Cod.


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