Faith and Family: Grace minister leaving Natchez for next chapter

Published 1:19 am Saturday, May 27, 2017

By Christian Coffman

NATCHEZ — Five years after stepping into the role of minister at Grace United Methodist Church, the Rev. Nance Hixon is ready for next chapter in his ministerial life.

Hixon was appointed to Grace in 2012 and is to be ordained as an elder in a few weeks. He will also being moving away from Natchez at the end of June after being appointed to a church in Sumrall.

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Originally from Monroe County, Hixon said the Natchez community is unlike any community in which he has ever lived.

“I’d be shocked if I’d be anywhere else like Natchez again,” Hixon said. “It has a strong history and a distinct local character.”

Of the memories Hixon has made here, the minister said they are not grandiose, but intimate.

“I’m thinking about situations and people’s lives…I’ve been there with them through things, made bonds that are just kind of hard to describe,” Hixon said. “Obviously, we’ve got our challenges. But there’s wonderful people here, and hopefully those people can find a vision together to face the challenges.”

Hixon has been a provisional minister for the past two years. Provisional positions in the Methodist Church are for seminary graduates who serve two- to three-year terms in a full-time appointment after being commissioned.

Hixon said an elder is someone who has four responsibilities: word, order, sacrament and service.

“As long as I have been a Christian, that’s what I knew I was supposed to be doing with my life; it never deviated,” Hixon said.

Elders are given the authority to preach the Word of God, administer the sacraments of the church, provide care and counseling and to order the life of the church for ministry and mission.

“If you feel called to be an elder then you feel called to those aspects of ministry,” Hixon said. “It’s what I’m supposed to be doing, that’s how I feel about it. That’s only been confirmed over the years that I’ve been doing this.”

Hixon said he is looking forward to getting to know a new community and trying to figure out where God is at work.

“God’s already at work, I just need to see what I can do to be a part of that,” Hixon said.

A farewell reception for Hixon has been planned at Grace United Methodist Church at 2 p.m. on June 18.

Hixon is being replaced by the Rev. Linda Fox who will be moving to Natchez from her previous church in Tylertown.