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Bob Hollis is Why

November 26, 2019

With gratitude for my District Superintendent Rev. Allyn Walker and my pastor Rev. Harvey Gaither and all others who were there, here’s an Addendum from last Thursday to my official Report —

I’ll not be at Charge Conference this Sunday afternoon; please accept my regrets along with this Report. I’ll be going to the funeral of Rev. Robert Hollis in Mt. Vernon, IL.

Beyond his astonishing professional accomplishments, Bob was a hero of mine.

We met when he made a seminary visit. Later he became my first District Superintendent.

He put together my first Appointment and called it The Vandalia Circuit. It included Haley Chapel and Mt. Carmel UMCs, which I served on my own. Additionally, with Gary Jenkins as Directing Pastor for one year and then Art Holland for three, I was also the part time Associate at the Vandalia FUMC.

That appointment turned out to be custom-made: I preached in my small, rural churches twice every Sunday and made plenty of mistakes with very patient people who were happy to have someone other than a college student for their pastor. Moreover, I still had access to be in ministry with all that the much larger First Church offered.

I was in that appointment for four years.

Bob and I would ride to meetings together, and fairly quickly began to speak openly and freely about pretty much everything.

When I was offered a move beyond The Vandalia Circuit, I first consulted with Bob. After that, with almost every opportunity that came my way, I continued to first consult with Bob. Eventually, I was able to dissect and examine possibilities like he would.

When it was time to baptize our son, I called Bob; we have matching stoles from that October morning in 1985.

Over the years Bob and I served on several Committees and Teams together.

He gave thoughtful and helpful answers to both my professional and personal questions, including wise financial advice for which I repeatedly thanked him.

He and Clarice continue to be models for many, obviously including me.

Several months ago, I was with him at a birthday party for a colleague and noticed that he was slowing down a bit.

More recently I sat with Clarice and Bob during a funeral. I had to admit to myself that there had been a change in him.

Getting the news yesterday of Bob’s death still came as a horrible shock.

In every sense of the phrase, he was one of the good ones.

Patty and I were honored to be part of the packed sanctuary Sunday afternoon celebrating the life, the faith, and the immeasurable influence of Bob Hollis.

For all of the above reasons and many more, I ask that you to include Bob’s family and friends in your prayers on this Tuesday and beyond.

And I thank you in advance.

See you back here tomorrow.

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One Comment
  1. Thanks Joe. Bob Hollis was an important part of the “tall timber” of clergy leaders in the former Southern Illinois Conference and helped to ensure the successful launch and current vitality of the current Illinois Great Rivers Conference. Sorry that Brenda and I were not able to attend the celebration of his life on Sunday afternoon.


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