|Women's social justice champion Linda Hollies dies|
A UMNS Report
By Linda Green*
Aug. 30, 2007
The Rev. Linda Hollies, a prolific author, motivational speaker and
champion of issues around social justice for women, is dead at age 64.
The Rev. Linda Hollies
Hollies was in Phoenix to give the keynote address and lead a
workshop for a women's conference when her body was found Aug. 18 in her
hotel room. The cause of death has not been determined.
A memorial service will be held Sept. 1 at Calvary United Methodist Church in Jackson, Mich., where she was pastor.
In lieu of flowers, Hollies had asked that donations go to the Rev.
Linda Hollies Memorial Benefit Fund to help support her family. The fund
has been established at LaSalle Bank in Jackson.
"Prior to her death, my mother had things in order. It was like she knew," said Grian Hollies, her daughter.
Hollies recently went on a book tour in the South where she saw and
talked with people she knew and loved. "After thinking about it, it was
like she was saying goodbye," her daughter said.
Appointed to Calvary United Methodist Church a year ago, Hollies was
the first African-American and woman pastor of the 110-year-old
predominantly white congregation. She also was the first
African-American pastor of a mainline Protestant church in Jackson.
"Her death has been hard," said Bethany Chenoweth, chairwoman of
Calvary's staff-parish relations committee. "She brought new ideas, new
energy and new hope to our church. She was with us for too short a
Born in Gary, Ind., Hollies attended elementary and high school
there. Her early careers included teaching and management jobs for
General Motors and Ford Motor in Illinois. At age 40, she enrolled in
United Methodist-related Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary and
received a Master of Divinity degree. She earned a doctorate with a
focus on black and womanist theology from United Theological Seminary.
She served the staff of the West Michigan Annual (regional) Conference
and was a former associate minister of New Hope Baptist Church.
Hollies helped to found the organization Black Clergy Women of the United Methodist Church.
"Shockwaves are flowing through the body of black clergywomen," said
the Rev. Joyce Harris Scott, the group's president and pastor of Mason
Memorial and Metropolitan Avenue United Methodist churches in Kansas
"(Dr. Linda) wrote many books and inspired many with her colorful
effervescent personality. She will be sadly missed. Indeed a part of us
is absent, but we know that Linda is now dancing with the angels among
the heavenly host."
Scott described Hollies as an "eighth-century biblical prophet"
because she "spoke the word of God uncompromisingly which moved people
to see God in a different voice of shalom."
Hollies produced a weekly e-mail newsletter called "In A Different
Voice," distributed to many United Methodists and ecumenically. She
wrote 30 books—many in women's inspiration—including Jesus and Those Bodacious Women: Life Lessons from One Sister to Another, Living Bountifully, Taking Back My Yesterdays: Lessons in Forgiving and Moving Forward and most recently Mother Goose Meets a Woman Called Wisdom, which puts a modern spin on classic nursery rhymes and Bible stories.
Hollies owned and operated Woman Space, a gathering place for healing
women in Grand Rapids, Mich., and taught classes on cultural diversity,
world religious traditions and grants and proposal writing for the
University of Phoenix.
"Her pen, her passion, her scholarship and her faith journey will be
sorely missed by the folks she knew and by the church she served," said
Michigan Area Bishop Jonathan Keaton. "I am thankful that she passed my
The Rev. Gary Henderson, director of the United Methodist Global
Health Initiative, said Hollies challenged others with her theological
wisdom. "Her approach to Scripture and interpretation of Scripture was
always thought-provoking," he said. "She walked the margins around
In addition to her daughter, Hollies is survived by her husband of 35
years, Charles, and a son, Gregory Everett, four brothers and two
sisters. She was guardian to her grandson, Giraurd. Another son, Grelan
Everett, preceded her in death.
*Green is a United Methodist News Service news writer based in Nashville, Tenn.
News media contact: Linda Green, (615) 742-5470 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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