Cassidy Plunkett, Director of Family Discipleship & Interim Children’s Minister –EMAIL CASSIDY
As Director of Family Discipleship, I work to help our families connect to God and to one another, at home, here at North Raleigh, and in our community. I have a background in children’s and family ministries, and I love this opportunity to walk in faith alongside people of all ages. I recently completed a Master’s degree at Duke Divinity School, and hope to continue on the path as a candidate for ordination. It is my hope to help all who come to my door know the fullness of God’s abounding love.
I have lived in Raleigh most of my life, and I am grateful to be raising my two sweet daughters here now. Hailey is 10 and Keelyn is 8. Both girls love God, love their family, love to serve those around them, and love to dance. Together, we find time to bake, paint, walk in the peace of nature, and love on our elderly cat and forever-young dog. I’m a runner and a coffee lover, and music and sunshine always make me happy. Nothing gives me more peace than spending time outside with my children in God’s creation, just giving thanks for all that we have been given here on earth to care for.
Jason Darden, Youth Pastor – EMAIL JASON
As Youth Pastor, I create and manage all youth programming and events. Previously, I was at First United Methodist Church in Cary, where I served as the high school youth coordinator for four years. I am a recent graduate of Duke Divinity School and am a candidate for ordination. I have served as the lay director of the Heart of Carolina Chrysalis Community and am currently sharing the position of Capital District Youth Coordinator.
I’m a North Carolina native who was born in Fayetteville, went to college at UNC-Greensboro, taught school in Clayton, and then managed an automotive repair shop in Apex for 17 years. I met my amazing wife April in Greensboro 26 years ago and we will celebrate 19 years of marriage this May. April is the Director of Creative Services at the YMCA of the Triangle. We have two children: Ava Katherine, 12 and Bennett Joseph, 4. Ava is a 7th grader at East Cary Middle School and Bennett loves Skylanders and Spiderman.
If you want to distract me from what I am supposed to be doing, just mention fly-fishing, skateboarding, cycling, or Southern literature. And if I try to figure out where you are from by your accent, just indulge me…I think I’m really good at it.
Jen Haselden, Associate Minister of Youth – EMAIL JEN
As Associate Minister of Youth, I assist Jason with all youth programming and events. My experience as a music therapist combined with years of summer camp/director ministry and children’s music ministry have equipped me well for serving the youth of NRUMC. I began working at North Raleigh in June of 2014 after moving from Asheville. Before coming here, I worked for Care Partners Hospice. One of my favorite things about working with youth is their energy and love of life. We often forget to view the world through the innocent, fresh eyes of youth.
I grew up moving around Alabama because my father is a Methodist minister in the North Alabama Conference. After attending the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, I received my bachelor’s of music in music therapy and recently earned national board certification as a music therapist.
My mom, dad, sister, and precious three-year-old nephew live in Decatur, AL. I’m pleased to report that my nephew shares my love of music, especially guitar. I love the outdoors and traveling anywhere and everywhere.
Courtney Allen, Director of North Raleigh
United Methodist Preschool – EMAIL COURTNEY
I am the Director of North Raleigh United Methodist Preschool. I started as a lead teacher with the Preschool 8 years ago. I had the privilege of being hired as the Director 2 years ago. The Preschool is what brought us to NRUMC. We have since grown to know many members, become involved in ministries of the church and have been made to feel like family. Prior to coming to NRUMC, I had been a stay-at-home Mom for about 3 years. I was also the Director of an Agricultural Museum and Marketing Manager of a small bank in Washington, NC.
I was born and raised in Raleigh, where my parents and brothers still reside. I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees from East Carolina University. My undergraduate degree is in Human Environmental Science and my Masters is in Public Administration.
I am married to Jeff Allen, who is a native of Greenville, NC. We have two sons, Jordan (13) and Jacob (11).
With the small amount of free time I have, I like to work on scrapbooks and spend time with my family. Most recently I have enjoyed singing with the chancel choir for holiday cantatas.