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Presbyterian Church Changes Pastors But “We’re Keeping It In The Family”

By Staff, 08/21/20 4:45 PM

We’re keeping it all in the family!” That’s the way Dan Hignight describes becoming the Temporary Supply Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Hope, Arkansas.

The comment reflects that fact that until August 1 of this year, his wife, Kathleen Hignight, had been the pastor of the church. In 2012 Kathleen began coming from Benton, Louisiana, to Hope on Sunday mornings to preach. Shortly after that, she was hired as a part-time Temporary Supply Pastor, staying in Hope 3 days a week, and returning to Louisiana the rest of the time. Dan was in his second decade of pastoring a church in Bossier City, Louisiana. The Hope church called Kathleen to be a full-time installed pastor in 2014. Dan took early retirement so the two could live in same house and not have to commute to see each other.

In December of 2018 Kathleen developed some health problems which, at times, rendered her unable to meet the demands of ministry. After prayer and conversations with colleagues, she decided it was time to take a medical leave and seek disability status.

Upon reflection of her time in Hope, Kathleen expressed how proud she is of the congregation and its ministries. “The congregation has been very active in the community. For a few years we had a Community Garden planted and maintained by parishoners. The produce was donated to Hope-in-Action 2. A long time supporter of Hope-in-Action food pantry, the congregation collects and donates food and money during the “Souper Bowl of Caring” and throughout out the year. Groups in the church support the Christian Clinic, and provide food and assistance to several non-profit groups in the area. One of the favorite activities is the Trunk or Treat held every Halloween. A few hundred Trick-or-Treaters come to get goodies on our back parking lot. Though the congregation is small in size, it is big in heart.” Kathleen celebrated the 25th Anniversary of Ordination this summer. She previously pastored a three church field in Bossier Parish, Louisiana.

The governing body, the Session, asked Dan to step in as a part-time pastor. He will oversee the day to day operations, will preach on Sundays, and teach occasionally. He is also on call to deal with any pastoral needs. “I believe that the church will make the transition from Kathleen to me, easily. I have been fortunate to be involved in the life of the church since moving here, filling the pulpit on occasions and teaching classes occasionally. My hope is that the congregation will continue to reach out to the community, especially to those who have been marginalized.” He and Kathleen have supported the decision to not have in person activities in the church during the pandemic. “We’ve had two members who have contracted the virus, both of whom were very meticulous about preventive measures. We consider our worshiping via video posts on Facebook to be a way we show love for our neighbors—doing what we can to protect each other.

Dan and Kathleen met at Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville, Arkansas. They have two grown children and 3 grandchildren.