The congregation of the Solon Center Wesleyan Church will bid their pastor, Rev. Tom Holloway, farewell at the end of the month. He and his family will be moving to South Carolina to take charge of another Wesleyan church in the North Myrtle Beach area.
Pastor Tom, with his wife Kim, daughter Taylor and sons Christian and Jackson came to Solon Center Wesleyan Church in 2007, when Pastor Tom was hired as a part time youth pastor and worship leader. Under his direction, the youth program flourished and the worship music became more contemporary in style. Each year he and the praise band would ride a float in the Red Flannel Parade, representing the church and playing their favorite songs. Over time, he fondly became known by some in the community as the rock & roll preacher.
When the opening became available in 2011, Pastor Tom became the lead pastor of the church. Since then the church has grown both numerically and spiritually under Pastor Tom’s guidance and loving care. His vision statement of “Reaching Up, Reaching Out & Reaching In” has become a reality, as the church has worshipped freely, made its presence known in the community, and the spiritual lives of individuals have deepened in their love for God through his teaching.
Pastor Tom has been instrumental in the community on a personal level as well. Some years ago, he and fellow youth pastor C.J. Mauer had a vision to start a youth center in Cedar Springs. From their vision and efforts, En Gedi, meaning “a place to be refreshed,” became a reality and now provides students in 6th-12th grades a safe place to get away from the burdens of life and be re-charged and energized. Pastor Tom acted as the first executive director for the center until becoming the lead pastor at the church. Pastor Craig Owens is now directing the center located at Red Hawk Elementary School, which meets after school Mondays through Thursdays.
Said Owens, “The En Gedi Youth Center is an amazing after-school program. I am sometimes given kudos for the work we do, but if our program is successful, it is because I stand on the shoulders of Tom Holloway. If it were not for his vision for this program, and his tireless effort to make it work, we wouldn’t have the life-changing program that we now have. We owe a huge debt to Pastor Tom’s vision for Cedar Springs.”
After this change Pastor Tom remained involved as a board member of En Gedi and continued to support the center through helping with fund raising efforts and Friday night 5th quarter events.
In addition, Pastor Tom has also worked over the past two years as an officer for the Community Building Development Team of Cedar Springs. The team is working to advance the construction of buildings and spaces where the greater Cedar Springs Community can gather for cultural, educational, recreational, commercial, and family/community events. Pastor Tom’s recent work primarily involved research regarding the design and construction of an amphitheater for the city.
CBDT president Kurt Mabie said, “Tom has a passion and love for this city. He will be missed.”
He has also consistently been an active member of the Cedar Springs Ministerial Association, which meets monthly and organizes ecumenical gatherings such as the upcoming “UNITED” Community Worship Service which is planned for August 23 in Morley Park. Pastor Tom was always instrumental in leading the praise and worship portion of the service, organizing band members, vocalists, and equipment.
Brett DeGraaf, Vice Chairman of the board at Solon Center recently shared his thoughts. “Pastor Tom has truly been a blessing to Solon Center Wesleyan Church and the Cedar Springs community. Through his music and unique ministry style, he was able to grow our church family and build a spirit of serving outside of the church walls. It will be very sad to see him go but we all know that God has plans for him and for the future of Solon Center Wesleyan Church. We wish him all the best.”
Pastor Tom’s last Sunday at Solon Center Wesleyan will be July 26. The service will begin at 10 a.m. It will be the last time the congregation and guests will hear his encouraging words of “Go Be the Church!” at the end of the service. The church, friends, and family will send the Holloways on to their new destination in South Carolina, with a farewell party at 1 p.m. the same day. The invitation is open to anyone in the community who may wish to attend. The church is located on Algoma Avenue, just north of 19 Mile Road.
Pastor Tom’s last “From the Pulpit” article ran in last week’s issue of the Post. You can read it online at www.cedarspringspost.com.