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Joy Lutheran pastor retires

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By Patricia A. Woodbury

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 There were few dry eyes on Sunday, Jan. 31, at the Retirement Celebration for Pastor Edward L. Holloway, Jr. Many of the church members, family members and community friends such as several pastors from the area and a rotary member attended this event. It began with a worship service at 10 a.m. in which Pastor Holloway presided for the last time. He also took the opportunity to baptize his newest grandson, Colin Holloway.

In 2002 Pastor Holloway moved from Minnesota, where he had received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and his Master of Divinity from Northwestern Lutheran Seminary. He also served in the U.S. Navy. He was a pastor in a small Lutheran church in Monticello, Minnesota from 1982 to 1992 and then senior pastor at Zion Lutheran Church, Cottage Grove, Minnesota for 10 years before coming to Florida

At 2 p.m., this Sunday, the planning committee had arranged a wonderful presentation of songs, videos, and humorous comments. Michael Shank was the emcee who directed this session in a wonderful, organized and entertaining manner. The music video that was put together was titled “Packing up the Dreams God Planted” and included many photographs of Pastor at work over the years at Joy. It also included many humorous memories of Pastor’s life at Joy. Throughout this video were interspersed well-known hymns that Pastor played on the piano while the audience sang. Pastor’s daughter, Melissa Menter, shared a lovely vocal rendition of “Thy Word.”

The ladies from the Joyful Hands group presented Pastor and his wife, Marsha, with a beautiful handmade quilt offering warm wishes for their retirement. A notebook of memory cards, written by members of the congregation was given to Pastor with well wishes. The Church Council presented a plaque to Pastor in appreciation for his leadership and faithful service. Michael assured Pastor that we did not want him to go without knowing that we had never given him a Corvette. Michael presented him with a miniature model Corvette. Knowing that Pastor Holloway and Marsha planned to travel the congregation collected $4,000 to start their vacation fund.

There were many testimonials of appreciation from members who thanked Pastor Holloway for his many talents of acceptance, giving to others in need, his gift of music, his kindness, his compassion and his generous leadership. A couple who came to this event from Cottage Grove, Minnesota, said that they would be “friends forever” with Pastor Holloway. A church member stated that this was “not a retirement but a graduation” for Pastor to take what he has learned here into his next stage in life.

Pastor Ed had the last word saying what impressed him most about Joy is that everyone came from somewhere else looking for friends. He admitted that most of his current friends have come from the congregation. He praised his staff and the many volunteers who contributed their talents, over the years, which made his job easier and helped to make the church grow and flourish. Pastor said he plans to become a professional grandfather and find a new adventure.

This session ended with a prayer and a song “The Name of the Lord.” The audience then went to the Fellowship Hall for food and conversation. Pastor Ed was loved and well-liked among the congregation and within the community. He will be missed by all who knew him.