"My basic understanding of church is this: While it is entirely possible to go to heaven apart from the church, it is not possible to live on this earth as God created us to live without the joy, frustration, restoration, and community of a group of devoted Christ-followers. Jesus did not start the institutional church per se, but His example shows us that faith without community, just like faith without works, is dead."
"The Christian life is more about our willingness to be broken, humble, and hopeful (at the same time) than it is about being honored, right, and world-weary. First UMC Fox Hill, like all her pastors, is not without either flaws or greatness. I invite you to join me on a journey without the pretense that we don’t need God or each other. Life is too short to live it lonely and weary – come and be challenged, refreshed, and reconnected!"
I was born in Roanoke, VA, 1970, to Tom and Connie Sixbey, as the last of three sons. My oldest brother, Steve, lives in Bedford County, VA, and Mark is my older brother, living near Rochester, NY. Believe it or not, I wasn’t born with a Bible in hand or a beard on my face! I grew up in the United Methodist Church, attending First UMC, Salem since I was a newborn. I attended Northside High School (Roanoke County), was involved in Scouts (my brothers and I all completed our Eagle in Troop 410 – Dad was our Scoutmaster), high school band, and Roanoke Youth Symphony, playing percussion. I was surprised to be accepted at UVa in 1988, and there I met my wife, Shan, at the Wesley Foundation, where I explored my calling to pastoral ministry. I graduated with a BA (Religious Studies, minor in Philosophy) in 1992, and began attending Duke Divinity School that year. The next year, from 1993-1994, Shan and I were married and moved to Anchorage, Alaska to serve a year-long youth minister internship at Anchor Park UMC . We came back, and I finished at Duke in 1996. During those four years at Duke, I served as an intern in 4 churches, served as a part-time chaplain at Rex Hospital for a year, and as an intern at the Raleigh Wesley Foundation for two years.
In 1996, we accepted our first appointment to pastor Woolwine and Ross-Harbour United Methodist Churches in Patrick County, while Shan began working on an MBA at Virginia Tech, which she completed in 1998. From there, Shan has worked full and part-time at Patrick Henry Community College, Ferrum College, Radford University, Virginia Western Community College, Johnson and Wales University, Tidewater Tech Online (now Centura College), and the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. Needless to say, Shan is as resourceful as any person you will ever meet. I went on to serve Gogginsville United Methodist Church from 1999-2004, and Beech Grove United Methodist Church 2004-2010. Being both in need of more training and torture, Brian began a D.Min. program through Asbury Seminary in 2007. (Actually, I started the program because I realized I didn’t have enough skills or understanding to fulfill the basic pastoral responsibility in Ephesians 4 – to equip the saints for the work of ministry.)
Our family first expanded by the adoption of two black cats, Epangellion and Musterion (Greek for mystery and promise), and the birth of our favorite son - Caedmon (2000) and our favorite daughter - Catriona (2002). If you like history, ask us where these names come from! I would tell you their histories, but they deserve to tell you in their own words and ways.