By SHERON C. PATTERSON
Dr. Zan Wesley Holmes returned to the pulpit of St. Luke "Community" UMC on Feb. 19 in his new role as interim pastor.
Dr. Holmes, pastor emeritus of St. Luke, retired from this church 10 years ago after serving as senior pastor for 28 years.
Now he is back to help heal and lead until a permanent pastor is appointed.
Bishop W. Earl Bledsoe, episcopal leader of the North Texas Annual Conference, is working with the congregation's leaders on appointing a new pastor this spring with an effective start date at Annual Conference. St. Luke's previous pastor, the Rev. Tyrone Gordon, resigned and surrendered his credentials Feb. 15 in the wake of a sexual misconduct lawsuit.
With a packed sanctuary that included Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and other Dallas civic leaders, Dr. Holmes preached a fiery sermon that blended the political and the prophetic.
Based on Jeremiah 8:18- 22, the sermon was titled, "Is There a Doctor in the House?" He exhorted and encouraged the congregation to see their troubles as temporary.
"Trouble has an expiration date," he proclaimed. "We are just passing through. Do not get stuck. Keep moving. If not, the Holy Ghost will check your transcript and send us back until we get our lesson right."
Dr. Holmes joked with the congregants that he thought twice about coming back.
"A lot went through my head when I was asked to come back as interim pastor. I thought about the fact that I was the pastor for 28 years and I got out alive. Do I want to go back again?
"Now I am 10 years older, and the things I used to do, I cannot do anymore."
Prayers for those involved in the lawsuit that rocked this congregation were also on Dr. Holmes’ mind.
He asked that everyone remain in prayer for Gordon and his family and the Rev. Cameron Greer, who brought the suit, and his family.
A transition team has been put in place to help Dr. Holmes move the congregation forward. Also, conflict resolution resources from the North Texas Annual Conference are in place at St. Luke, giving members the opportunity to voice their concerns constructively and prepare for the future.
Before Dr. Holmes preached, Bishop Bledsoe gave the congregation assurances of his support and involvement with them.
"Bishops are not responsible for everything that happens in life, but a lot of times when things do happen, people expect the bishop to respond," he said.
"My commitment to you, St. Luke, is that I will walk with you and with Dr. Holmes. I am committed to this church. We will continue to lift up the name of Jesus Christ in good times and low times," he said.
Bishop Bledsoe was pleased with the large number of people helping in the process of healing and wholeness at St. Luke.
"They are moving in the right direction," he said.
"Dr. Holmes will need your help," Bishop Bledsoe told the congregation. "He is not full time. He is interim. He is doing the work necessary until we appoint someone. Most of all, God is able."