Belated recognition of unique minister

JACKSON — This is a little late, but I was saddened to learn of the death of South African Methodist minister Ross Olivier earlier this month.

Olivier served a stint at minister of Galloway United Methodist Church in downtown Jackson and was a treat to converse with or to listen to from the pulpit.

Mac Gordon, former state House information officer and before then a political reporter, first introduced me to Olivier in 2004. The new Galloway minister was slated to preach the funeral of former Gov. Kirk Fordice.

Olivier had met with Fordice in his final days of illness, but wanted insight on the life of the former governor.

To borrow a phrase, I tried to provide “a fair and balanced” interpretation of the life of the first Mississippi governor to ever serve consecutive terms.

The eulogy Olivier gave sounded as if it came from a man who had known Fordice all his life — not because of the information I gave him, but because Olivier was a rare preacher, but more important he was an even more unique minister.

We are not members of Galloway, but often on a Wednesday night I would leave my state Capitol office and sneak over to Galloway to listen to his lessons. I was always impressed.

Ross Olivier, who fought apartheid in South Africa and later ministered to the rich and powerful of Galloway and the downtrodden who can be found in the downtown area near the church, was in many ways a unique man.