The Reverend James Hill from Fairhope Avenue Baptist Church has left the bustle of life on the Eastern Shore of Mobile Bay and taken on the mantle of leadership at Nokomis Baptist Church on Highway 31, just southwest of Atmore.
“I don’t believe in retirement in the ministry,” Rev. Hill said. “But it is harder to keep going in a large church at age 71, so I was looking for something less taxing.”
Hill is serving as the interim pastor for now, but has expressed a desire to see the position become more permanent.
“I am here until the church makes a final decision,” he said. “The people are open and friendly. I preach and teach as much here as I did in Fairhope, but administration duties are less.”
Rev. Hill came to the ministry later in life after establishing himself in the postal service. He served as a postal inspector for 17 years. He entered the ministry in 1977 and never looked back.
“As a teenager, I dedicated my life to Christian service,” Hill said. “As a young man I avoided my calling and sought a position as a postal inspector with the Postal Service. However, I found no peace and there was a void in my life which was not removed until I responded to God’s call. I have never regretted the decision to enter the ministry.”
Rev. Hill is married to Peggy Hill and has three adult children, all who graduated from Bible college.
His oldest son, Daniel, lives in California; his second son, David, is a music director at a church in Texas; and his daughter, Pamela Hartman, is the wife of a pastor in Kansas City. The Hills also have 10 grandchildren.
Rev. Hill describes his style of worship as traditional and his style of preaching as conservative, emphasizing that he preaches the Word.
“I preach from the King James Version of the Bible, which makes me in the minority, I guess,” Hill said. “My sermons are evangelical and right from the Bible. We sing traditional hymns, and I always give an invitation.”
For recreation, he enjoys golf (which he said he doesn’t get to do enough) and fishing (he said it has been too long since he has gone fishing).
He plans to begin a church choir in the near future at Nokomis.
“It is important that people walk with the Lord,” Rev. Hill said. “We all must stand accountable in the end. I hope some day my Savior can look to me and say, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant.’ So many Christians have gotten away from the Lord. They need to get in full fellowship with churches in their community. We are in the last days and we all need to be ready.”