Highland Heights welcomes new pastor

Highland Heights United Methodist Church is introducing their new pastor to the community. Since July 1, the Reverend Claude McKiddy has filled the pastoral role at the local church. McKiddy is a seminary graduate--having studied two years at the Southern Methodist University (SMU) School of Theology with another two years spent at the Methodist Theological School in Ohio. As he strives to be a Biblical preacher, he believes that it is important for a pastor to have an education in order to connect Scripture faithfully to the Bible.McKiddy said he considers himself an evangelist and not as a pastor, as filling the pulpit has become his second career. In 2002, he retired from public education after twenty-eight years of service in various school districts, including Crane ISD where he was the Special Education Director and later the Assistant Superintendent for Federal Programs.At the same time, McKiddy--since 1998--had been the bi-vocational pastor at the First United Methodist Church (FUMC) in Garden City. He also served as Senior Pastor at FUMC Knox City while studying at SMU, and was appointed to Union Salem UMC in the East Ohio Conference during his studies in Ohio.He then returned to the Northwest Texas Conference and in 2006, he was appointed to Snyder Trinity/Union UMC. Two years later, McKiddy served at the Southwest Drive UMC.Health issues, however, led to McKiddy's appointment to a smaller church located between Lubbock and Amarillo, in the Kress community. In 2010, he was diagnosed with two types of cancer which led to major surgery and extended recovery; a year later he retired from the Northwest Texas Conference.McKiddy says that the cancer-- "by the grace of God"--has been in remission for almost two years, which led him to accept the appointment to the pastorate in Sweetwater. Along with McKiddy on this new venture in ministry is his wife Patricia and their four grandchildren: Marcus, Cassidy, Grace and Jessica. But during his 15 years of ministry involvement, McKiddy has noticed the different needs at the churches he's been--which has given him a broad perspective in approaching each church by identifying their strengths and weaknesses. He intends to lead by consensus in the church, and he desires to bring the church to growth in numbers--as he has in the other churches he's been involved. McKiddy also wants to promote spiritual growth, along with outreach and evangelism ministries throughout the congregation. Furthermore, he plans on eventually teaching different Bible classes and placing an emphasis on missions to get the church involved. He says he has been particularly blessed in taking mission trips and hopes to give his church members the chance to gain another perspective of works in other countries. Rev. McKiddy brings the message each Sunday morning during their 10:45 a.m. worship service at Highland Heights United Methodist Church, located at 1801 Lamar. Sunday services begin with Sunday School at 9:30 a.m., and the church welcomes everyone to meet their new pastor and join them in worship.