Fr Wesley Hill,Rector,
St. Luke's Episcopal Church, Dixon, IL
Fr Wesley Hills, Rector
St Luke's Episcopal Church
NARRATIVE OCTOBER 7, 2017
I was a successful trial lawyer in San Diego, newly married, an Adjunct professor at a local law school, and just enjoying life when a lightning bolt struck in 1986. I was a lapsed Christian, and had not entered a church for over 10 years. On January 22, while driving my Porsche on a freeway, I had a “Conversion Experience”, difficult to describe here, that eventually led to me leaving the practice of law, and entering an Episcopal Seminary. Four years later I was ordained and have never looked back or regretted my decision. My wife, Terri, fully supported me, although we had only been married for three months, and I would not be where I am today without her.
Our youngest daughter, Gabriela, who had been with us since graduating from college in Pennsylvania, was married in April in San Diego, and moved to Vancouver, B.C. with her husband, Jason. They are both working in the craft brewing industry. With three of our four children then living in foreign countries – Shana in London, and Sean in Amsterdam – we decided to move as close as possible to our only child still in America, our son Justin and his wife Brittany, both lawyers in Chicago. I was able to secure a position as the Rector (Pastor) at St. Luke’s Episcopal church in Dixon, that was then looking for someone to serve 3/4 time, and to hopefully grow the church through community outreach and new programs.
We flew to Dixon in early February to interview for the position and an offer was made. Having fallen in love with this wonderful small town and the people we met, we joyfully accepted the offer, and it was agreed that my ministry would begin on May 7th. Following Gabriela’s wedding on April 30th, which took place at a small craft brewery in San Diego, Terri and I set about driving across this great country, arriving on May 5th. I conducted my first service on Sunday, May 7th, and have never looked back. We just love being able to walk to so many places from the Rectory, which is right next to the church. My wife, Terri, organized and led a free Vacation Bible School in late July, which was attended by twenty children. She is a wonderful teacher and shares my belief that children are not just the future of the church, but the present as well. Under her leadership, our church in San Diego grew from around twelve children in 1995 to over one-hundred in 1999. She has started a Sunday School at St. Luke’s, ably assisted by Lillian Deter, daughter of Dixon’s Librarian, Anthony. Lillian was also instrumental during the summer bible school.
Future plans include monthly events such as, local musicians, a game night, and interesting speakers, at which the church will serve wine and cheese and other appetizers. Since I believe that serving a church is a calling and not simply a job, I make my mobile number available to all church members who are urged to call me 24/7 for any pastoral needs. I also plan to soon hold public “office hours” at a local establishment (i.e.,Books On First, Crystal Cork) where I will be there, say every Wednesday from 5-7 p.m., and people will be invited to just “show up” to talk with me on any subject. We just love Dixon, and are so anxious to get to know more people, and to become a part of this lovely community.