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First Presbyterian welcomes new associate pastor

-Messenger photo by Kelby Wingert
The Rev. Rebecca Dix, the new associate pastor of spiritual formation, joined the staff at First Presbyterian Church in September.

Congregants at First Presbyterian Church have been greeted by a new face at the pulpit lately.

The Rev. Rebecca Dix, associate pastor for spiritual formation, joined the staff at the church, 1111 Fifth Ave. N., in September.

Dix, a native of Aplington, attended Northwestern College in Orange City before spending the last seven years in Pennsylvania pursuing a Masters of Divinity and a Masters of Theology at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary.

After graduating from Northwestern with a degree in writing, rhetoric and theater, she spent a year working at home, contemplating her next move.

“I was spending that year to discern where I needed to go, because I knew that I was supposed to be doing something in the church, some sort of ministry,” Dix said. “In that year, I was talking to mentors and praying and trying to figure out where I was supposed to go.”

Dix feels that she had been called by God to pursue a ministry education for a while, but it took her some time to catch on.

“I always liken it to a reduction sauce,” she said. “It’s always been simmering in the back of my head … It was slowly simmering in the back until it was done.”

She eventually found herself at Pittsburgh Seminary, but even then she hadn’t fully grasped why she was there.

“I was actually already in seminary, my first year, but the whole time I did feel a little self-conscious, I did feel nervous,” Dix said. “There are a number of people in my upbringing who frown upon women in ministry, and so I was trying to find a way to avoid that confrontation while still being faithful.”

It was near the end of Dix’s first year of seminary and she was still struggling with why she was there.

“Even though I knew I felt like I was supposed to be there and it felt 100 percent right, I still thought, ‘But I don’t understand what you’re doing, God,'” she said.

A visit from an ordained female minister was what helped Dix realize what “everyone else knew but me” – that she was called to ordained ministry, to work in the church.

“In God’s wisdom and in God’s care, he really knew I needed that time to really process and get over myself,” Dix said.

After graduating with her Master’s of Divinity, Dix decided to stay in Pittsburgh to continue her Master’s of Theology.

While in school, Dix worked in the restaurant industry as a chef and did guest preaching on Sundays.

After a long and, at times disappointing, search for a church assignment, Dix was called to join the staff at First Presbyterian Church in Fort Dodge.

“I did want to be an associate pastor because there is still so much that I wanted to learn and still so much I felt as though I need to be prepared for,” she said. “And while associate pastor positions are very rare in regards to the amount of solo pastor positions that are available, if I could, I wanted to do that and gain experience and not do ministry alone.”

At First Presbyterian, Dix joins the Rev. Dr. Austin Hill, lead pastor, and Rev. Sara Hill, associate pastor. The Hill joined the staff at the church in 2009.

As the associate pastor for spiritual formation, Dix will work closely with the church’s younger generations, guiding their journeys and relationships with God and Jesus Christ.

Dix said the church was also looking for someone who would be involved in the community outside the doors of the church, and she really liked that vision.

“One of the things I’d learned though my work in the kitchens and the food industry is that we need to meet people where they’re at,” she said. “That is what, perpetually, Jesus was calling his disciples to do – to go out and meet people.”

When she arrived in Fort Dodge, Dix knew this is where she needed to be, she said.

“For me, what I’ve been absolutely loving are the moments in which the kids engage me,” Dix said. “So the times in which they call my name out and want to tell me something or they want to hang out with me or they want to tell me about their life or they ask me a question about what I think or something.”

One thing that Dix is excited about that she feels is unique to First Presbyterian Church is that there are two ordained women on staff – Dix and Sara Hill.

One of the first things many people notice about her when they meet Dix is that she has blue hair.

Dix has had blue in her hair for the better part of a decade, she said. It’s become part of what makes her, her.

“For me, my hope in being my genuine self,” she said, “I’ve come to the point where I’m a 30-year-old woman and I can redefine what this looks like.”

With her blue hair and by unapologetically expressing herself, Dix hopes she inspires the community around her to be true to themselves.

“Maybe if I can be my genuine self, wouldn’t that just be better for God’s kingdom in general, that the kids can be their genuine self and when they become adults they can continue to be their genuine self,” she said. “Or maybe the adults I meet, they feel disarmed and they can be their genuine self.”

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