There is a new man of God in town and he is providing leadership to a church that has long needed it.

Pastor William Hill, 50, is now the full-time preacher for Landis Presbyterian Church on U.S. 221 North. While still in seminary school, he would travel to Marion to preach at Landis until February when they asked him to stay.

“They have a long history here, but as what usually happens, when you lose a pastor you lose people,” he told The McDowell News. “They have been without a pastor here for six years. I want to let people know that we exist, we have been here a long time and our greatest desire as a church is to minister to the community.”

Hill was called to the pulpit after spending years in retail management which he said is “no life for anybody.”

“This is my first time pastoring a church. It was a midlife change, but I always wanted to do ministry,” he said.

Hill is originally from New York, but moved to Virginia in 1998 with his wife to raise their three children. When they all left the nest, Hill decided to follow one of his lifelong dreams. He grew up in a Baptist church and his wife was Roman Catholic before they both converted.

“I have been ‘southernized’ after 16 years in the south and it’s been good to me. We live right in town in Marion in a small little house. We don’t need much,” said Hill. “I have a real heart for the job, the community and to minister to people however they need. There is a lot of hurt out there.”

Landis currently has about 20 members, but in the church’s history there have been close to 90 at one time. There are two services on Sunday, including a meal after the morning service.

“Our core mission as a church is what I call historic Christianity. Our central issue in worship every week is the unapologetic preaching of God’s word. We live in a society where everything is so informal that it’s a shock for some to come here because we are very formal. But, we are very friendly and very loving and reach out to people as much as we can,” he said.

Hill describes himself as a “call it the way he sees it” kind of guy and that’s the kind of message he portrays in his sermons.

“If people are looking for a serious place of worship where they are going to hear God’s word preached and sing God’s praises, this is the place to be. If you are looking to be entertained, there are other places to go and I encourage that.”

He preaches from the English Standard Version of the Bible because he says it’s faithful to the original language.

“The Bible teaches that worship is the most important thing that we will do all week. We take worshipping God seriously. A worship that is rich and full of God’s present and glory will result in a life that is much richer. We are trying to grow the church on Sundays to get people here and get people excited about what we are doing here,” said Hill.

The church is located at 4975 U.S. 221 North in Marion. Sunday school begins at 10 a.m. and worship begins at 11 a.m. with a meal following. The afternoon service starts at 2:30 p.m. Visit their Web site at www.landispca.org, call 828-623-9192, or email wfhill@landispca.org to learn more.

BOX: History of Landis Presbyterian

On May 27, 1923, a Presbyterian Sunday school was organized at Hick’s Chapel by the Rev. J.C. Story, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Marion. The Sunday School was moved December 18, 1927 to Tom’s Creek School House on the farm of W.E. Landis who gave the Sunday School free use of the school house. On the third Sunday in October 1933, the Landis Presbyterian Church was organized with 35 charter members and was enrolled in Concord Presbytery. Story was the first pastor in 1938. The present church building was completed in April 1947.