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Having lacked consistent clerical leadership for generations, the congregation had relied on lay initiative for a long time. Luke’s was also used to Morning Prayer on Sundays, led by lay readers twice a month. Holder one of them) became the new priests, the change was both familiar and new, an opportunity for a long-desired weekly Eucharist.

Transition vicars — seminary-trained clergy sent in by the diocese to work alongside Fr.

He was a master of the telling quotation and the witty aside. I was entranced, convinced of some deep kinship with this man, as he was connected to so much that was most important to me. He came to class one day in a black suit and clerical collar. One of his parishioners had died, and he needed to officiate at the funeral. It was a little church in a little place, and he’d been serving there for sixteen years, since just after I was born. I’d been telling people I wanted to be a pastor for about a decade by then, and I never really thought about combining this vocation with one of my other passions. We worked alongside each other, fellow priest-history teachers, at an Episcopalian boarding school only a few miles from where he’d first introduced me to the English Reformation.

As a colleague, I found him extremely helpful, and I have also come to cherish him as a dear friend.

Some people found it difficult to accept a minister without seminary training as a “real priest” — though this prejudice, Fr.

Holder noted, was much stronger among the diocesan clergy than the laity.

They are engaged in a number of important charitable works.

Their parish house is pretty much Brownsville’s community center.

Once, the principal came down the hallway, asking Fr.

Holder if he had “that black thing” (his clerical shirt) in his closet.

It turns out his life still had plenty of room for Sunday duties and a community college lectureship; multitasking was a habit not easily set aside. Holder’s, is widely touted as our future model in the Episcopal Church.

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