Jan. 30, 2007
Perkins School of Theology at Southern Methodist University has selected the Rev. Dr. William A. Holmes as its Distinguished Alumnus for 2007. This award will be presented at a luncheon in Dr. Holmes’ honor at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 6, 2007, during Perkins’ Ministers Week.
The award is given each year to an alumnus or alumna who personifies effectiveness and integrity in service to the church and wider community, support and involvement in the goals of the seminary and university, and exemplary character.
Dr. Holmes, who first came to national prominence following a sermon preached in the days following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, has served in a number of significant ministries. He began his career in Dallas in 1955 as associate minister of Highland Park United Methodist Church. He has been the minister of Northaven UMC in Dallas, a part-time instructor in Homiletics at Perkins, a senior minister at First UMC in Denton, Texas, senior minister of University UMC in Austin, Texas, and minister of preaching and administration, National United Methodist, Metropolitan Memorial UMC in Washington, D.C., where he is Minister Emeritus. Holmes retired in 1998.
Holmes graduated from Hendrix College in Conway, Ark., in 1952, with a Bachelor of Arts degree. He earned a Master of Divinity degree from Perkins in 1954, and continued in postgraduate studies at Union Theological seminary in New York, N.Y., through 1955. In addition, he was awarded a Doctor of Divinity Degree in 1970 from Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas, and a Doctor of Humane Letters in 1978 from Western Maryland College in Westminster, Md.
Holmes’ experience includes work as an author, lecturer, and television host. His writing includes, Tomorrow’s Church: A Cosmopolitan Community, Abingdon Press, 1968; Careers for Clergy, Chapter I, “The Pastor,” Consortium Press, 1976; and Nonviolence: Origins and Outcomes, Chapter VIII, “A Dialogue on Terrorism and Nonviolence,” Writers Workshop, Kolkata, India, 2003. His sermons have been published in A Man Named John F. Kennedy, Paulist Press; “The Christian Century;” and Sermons On Suicide, Westminster/John Knox Press, 1989.
Excerpts of his 1963 sermon on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, preached at Dallas’ Northaven United Methodist Church, were carried on the “CBS Walter Cronkite Evening News,” and publically supported by members of the faculty and student government of Perkins School of Theology. He has been a preacher for The Protestant Hour, United Methodist Series, 1972; a preacher and lecturer for “Ministers Week” and other keynote events at Perkins School of Theology, Boston University School of Theology, Duke Divinity School, Wesley Theological Seminary, and Candler School of Theology at Emory. He also has served as a preacher for the United Methodist Annual Conferences in Western Pennsylvania, New Jersey, North Dakota, North Carolina, and Arkansas; as the lecturer for United Methodist Pastors’ school in 16 states; and as the host for the weekly television program, “Perspective,” on WDVM, CBS, Washington, D.C.
In other church assignments, Holmes is a member of the Governing Board of the National Council of Churches, U.S.A.; chairman of the Conference Relations Committee, Baltimore Annual Conference; member of the Board of the Ordained Ministry; member of the Baltimore Annual Conference Foundation; chairman of the Annual Conference Task Force on Homosexuality; member of the Washington Interfaith Network; founder of the Lawyer’s Guild, Baltimore Annual Conference; Trustee of the American University, Washington, D.C.; trustee of Western Maryland College, Westminster, Maryland; delegate to the General Conferences: 1986, 1992, 1996; chairman of Pastoral Care Committee, Siblee Memorial Hospital; trustee of Sibley Memorial Hospital; and chairman of the Ethics Advisory Committee, Sibley Memorial Hospital.
Holmes is married to Nancy Murray, and they have two grown sons, Will and Chris, and six grandchildren.
Perkins School of Theology is one of five University-related official schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. The school was founded in 1911 by the Methodist Episcopal Church South, now The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Church Ministries, Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, and Doctor of Ministry degree, as well as the Ph.D. in cooperation with SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.
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