Walking the walk, musically … Newt Hendrix
By By Connie Nowlin Managing editor
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"I enjoyed my time in Atmore and I hate having to leave," said Walter Newton Hendrix Jr.
Newt, as he is known to his friends and members of First Baptist Church, has left his position as the music director.
He was happy there, but economics changed all that.
Hendrix's wife, Kathy, is an elementary school teacher. But her job at an Atmore school was eliminated, and as Hendrix put it, "We're a two-income family."
Additionally, the couple has a son in school at LaGrange College, and they are originally from Atlanta.
So they chose to return to Hiram, Ga., a suburb of Atlanta, where Kathy Hendrix has been teaching school for the past year while Newt continued in his position as music director.
It was a change the couple didn't want to make.
"I'm going to miss the small town atmosphere, the good neighbors, good friends and the quiet community of Atmore," he said by cell phone.
At this point, Newt Hendrix has not found a new job. He joked about spending some time on the yard. But with a master's degree in church music and a strong calling, it is unlikely that the lawn at his new home will ever resemble a putting green.
"God gave me this ability to do this," he said. He has said that music giving glory to God is really the only vocation he has ever considered.
"I've been doing it for 27 years," he said. And that he enjoyed his time in Atmore and at First Baptist is evident when he talks of the church that has been his home for three years.
"The most interesting thing is the
people. You get to see them at their best and at the worst times in their life. It's never dull. An opportunity like First Baptist is a great chance to meet other folks, both at other churches and in the community," he said.
It is not just members of First Baptist that will miss Hendrix, though.
"Newt has been a treasure to Atmore," said Wesley Channell, pastor at First Presbyterian Church. His was one of four churches that worked together extensively – First Presbyterian, First Methodist, First Baptist and Brooks Memorial Methodist.
"Not only in his ability to lead his congregation to worship, but to lead our joint congregation in worshipping God together. Newt is a great servant."