April 25, 2007
Zan Wesley Holmes Jr.
Dallas minister and civil rights activist Zan Wesley Holmes Jr. has received the 2006-07 J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award from SMU’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. Rev. Holmes accepted the award during a noon luncheon April 24 in the Crescent Ballroom, Hotel Crescent Court in Dallas.
“The Maguire Center is honored to have the opportunity to recognize the Rev. Zan Holmes for his lifetime of commitment to social justice in the Dallas community,” said Thomas Wm. Mayo, associate professor in SMU’s Dedman School of Law and director of the university’s Cary M. Maguire Center for Ethics and Public Responsibility. “Considering his leadership, his moral courage and his sacrifice to make Dallas a better community for all of its citizens, Rev. Holmes stands among giants – including Mayor J. Erik Jonsson, in whose name this award is given.”
Rev. Holmes is pastor emeritus of St. Luke “Community” United Methodist Church in Dallas, where he served for 28 years. A cum laude graduate of Huston-Tillotson University in Austin, he also received two graduate degrees from SMU’s Perkins School of Theology: a Master of Theology in 1959 and a Master of Sacred Theology in 1968. In addition, he taught and mentored students and ministers for 24 years as an adjunct professor of preaching at the Perkins School.
As a community activist and leader, Rev. Holmes served in the Texas House of Representatives from 1968-1972 while concurrently serving as a United Methodist District Superintendent. During his term, he chaired the Texas Constitutional Revision Committee, and a federal court appointed him to assist with Dallas school desegregation. Rev. Holmes is author of Reaching for Renewal (1991) and When Trouble Comes (1996) and is widely recognized for his role as narrator and host of the Disciple Bible I Study video series produced by Abingdon Press. In 2001, the National Voting Rights Museum and Institute in Selma, Alabama recognized him as one of the Civil Rights Movement’s “Invisible Giants.”
In retirement, Holmes remains active as a life member of the NAACP and a member of Black Methodists for Church Renewal. He continues to lead preaching workshops for ministers and is involved in a number of civic and professional organizations.
The J. Erik Jonsson Ethics Award, named in honor of the former mayor of Dallas, is given to individuals who exemplify the spirit of moral leadership and public virtue. Past winners include Curtis W. Meadows Jr., Charles C. Sprague, Stanley Marcus, William T. Solomon, Jack Lowe Jr., Ron J. Anderson, Tom Luce, Caren Prothro and Roger Staubach.
Story by Kathleen Tibbetts
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