Richard Holmes – A fisher
Published 12:00 am Thursday, June 15, 2000
of men and a fisherman
By JAINE TREADWELL
Who better to be called as fishers of men than fishermen?
Jesus called fishermen into his discipleship and God often calls them into His ministry.
Richard Holmes got "hooked" and felt the tugging of God’s call, but resisted, so God gave him plenty of line before finally reeling him in.
"One day I went home and told Sharon that I just couldn’t fight it any longer," Holmes said. "She’d had to bear the brunt of my grouchy stages, so she looked at me and said, ‘Thank you, God.’"
The couple and their two young sons left their "comfort zone" and followed God’s call that would take them to the place of purpose in their lives.
With his wife’s help, Holmes worked his way through Huntingdon College as a student pastor and then through Emory University. For the "freshman" minister, service to God had long been a part of his life.
It has often been said that a fisherman is never far from God. In the quiet solitude of the fishing hole, God’s presence is often strongly felt. Fishing had always been a part of Holmes’ life and so had a relationship with God.
He grew up in Opp and was a member of First Methodist Church there. As an adult, he was involved in the lay ministry of the church, but in 1970, he began to feel God’s calling.
In 1972, he was asked to serve two small churches as a lay person and he agreed.
He reopened Friendship Methodist Church, the church into which he was born, and also served County Line Methodist. His lay service paved the way to full time service which has taken him to Wewahitchka,
Fla., Hartford, Headland, Evergreen, Slapout and now Brundidge.
"We are so proud to be in Brundidge and at Brundidge United Methodist Church," Holmes said. "I believe God has a reason and purpose for placing us here. It’s almost like coming home. I have never been in a church where the people are as warm and friendly. We are among extremely good people and we already feel very comfortable and at-home here."
Holmes has only been the church’s pastor for one week, but he already knows that the youth programs will be one of his priorities.
"There are young people in our community that we want to bring into our church," he said. "I have plans for them."
Holmes and his wife are both certified divers and he would like nothing better than to take the youth diving along the Florida Keys during spring vacations. That is something they did with the youth group in Slapout and those adventures give some insight into the new preacher when he’s out of the pulpit.
Holmes laughingly admitted that he is first and foremost a fisher of men and then a fisherman.
When he was a young boy, Holmes became fascinated with the art of fly fishing. He bought a rod and soon learned to float a fly onto the water. Today, he has all but mastered the art of "imitating a bug."
"Once you get the feel of the rod and see the fly feather down onto the water without making so much as a ripple, you’re hooked," Holmes said. "Sharon and I spend much of our vacation time down in the Florida Keys fly fishing and salt water fishing. We also like fishing the Everglades because it changes twice a day. You go out in the morning and it looks one way. Later, in the afternoon, it looks completely different and it’s beautiful at both times. It’s amazing."
In addition to diving and fishing, Richard and Sharon Holmes are also ham radio operators and, for 30 years, they have been "inside’ hurricanes.
"When everything else goes out, they’ve still got us – the ham radio operators," Holmes said. "Sharon and I have worked nine hurricanes. It’s something we can do in times like that."
Holmes said he is committed to working with disaster teams and was glad to learn that Brundidge United Methodist Church has a disaster assistance program in place and a well-equipped truck that is in a state of readiness at all times.
"I know God had His hand in our coming to Brundidge," Holmes said. "This is a wonderful community and a great church. All of us are ministers. Some of us are pastors. I look forward to being the pastor to this church ministry and to getting the feel of the heartbeat of our new community."