Reverend Dixon Platt was appointed to Elm Springs United Methodist Church in the spring of 2012, and began his ministry there July 1, 2012. He previously served churches in northeast Arkansas from 2009 -2012.
A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Dixon attended colleges in Tennessee and Texas, receiving degrees and certifications from Texas Tech University and Southern Methodist University. His Masters in Divinity is from Memphis Theological Seminary.
A “second-career” pastor, Dixon has a business professional background in communications, public relations, marketing, fundraising, and administration. Previous posts included executive positions with a municipal government, teaching hospital, health sciences center (medical, nursing, and allied health schools), and a chamber of commerce. He also produced and hosted award-winning radio and television programs for more than 10 years.
It is Dixon’s personal mission as pastor to ENCOURAGE, ENLIST, and EMPOWER every person attending Elm Springs UMC to find their place in ministry and to practice that ministry. “If we all do that, then we will meet our church’s mission statement of being disciples and making disciples of Jesus Christ so the world will be transformed to be God’s kingdom on earth,” he said.
Born and raised in Beebe, Arkansas, Judd Caleb Burns discovered a love for music through school choir, leading a small worship service at his home church, and a few years of private piano lessons. He enrolled in minor-level voice lessons and choir in his first semester at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, then declared a music major during his freshman year at the U of A. Graduating in 2014 – Summa Cum Laude with a degree in voice performance – he continued his vocal study at the U of A, completing his Master’s Degree for voice. During this time Burns served as the graduate assistant for the U of A voice department, teaching both formal group classes and private voice lessons. Winner in his categories of the 2016 Arkansas Chapter NATS Vocal Competition, the 2015 Southern Regional NATS Vocal Competition, and the Artist Encouragement Award in the 2015 Kristin Lewis Foundation Vocal Scholarship Competition, Burns is highly involved in extracurricular vocal activities. He performed in the 2015 CMS Vienna European Vocal Music Tour series, the 2014 Emerald City Opera season, the 2013 Saarburger International Music Festival in Germany, and many other performances and performance tours as a soloist and choral soloist. An experienced interpreter of art song, Judd performs Lied and mélodie with elegance and poise. Burns is not a stranger to the operatic stage, either. His performance credits include: Herr von Eisenstein in Johann Strauss’s Die Fledermaus, Gherardo in Puccini’s Gianni Schicchi, Bardolph in Falstaff by Verdi, Edwin in Gilbert & Sullivan’s A Trial by Jury, Bill in A Hand of Bridge by Menotti & Barber, and numerous other character appearances in opera scenes and solo recitals. Burns has directed the Arkansas United Methodist Conference Youth Choir Tour director for the last four years.
Burns has been involved with Arkansas United Methodist youth ministry in some capacity since before he was even old enough to be a member of a youth group. He attended Beebe First United Methodist Church’s youth group from the ages of 12 to 18. While in youth, he served for three years as a youth representative on the Arkansas Conference Council on Youth Ministries (ACCYM). His last two years of ACCYM, he served as the youth chair for Choir Tour and Junior High Assembly, two of the many events coordinated and offered to Arkansas youth by the ACCYM each year. In addition to ACCYM, Burns was selected to serve for two years on the United Methodist South Central Jursidictional Youth Team, and traveled Germany in 2010 to participate as a voting delegate in the Global Young People’s Convocation and Legislative Assembly. As an adult with the ACCYM, Burns has directed the Arkansas United Methodist Conference Youth Choir Tour for the last four years. Burns began volunteering with Elm Springs United Methodist Church’s youth group in late 2011, playing a worship service for their youth on Wednesday nights. He then accepted the position as contemporary worship leader in 2012, and has held that position ever since. In August of 2015, Burns accepted the position of part-time youth coordinator at ESUMC, and — since graduating with his Master’s Degree in music from the University of Arkansas in May 2016 — has taken a more full-time role with the youth of the church.