BALTIMORE — Members of the NAACP are joining A.M.E. Zion Church members and many others in mourning the loss of Bishop Roy A. Holmes, a lifetime NAACP member, and member of the NAACP Board of Directors and its Religious Affairs Committee, who passed on Saturday, May 4. “Bishop Holmes was a true man of service,” said Roslyn M. Brock, NAACP board chairman.
“He was always ready to answer the call to duty, whether in the NAACP or in the A.M.E. Zion Church, where his leadership extended over two continents. He was devoted to his family and to educating the next generation of leaders. His passing is a terrible loss for the NAACP and the faith community.”
“Bishop Holmes was an inspired steward of the longstanding bond between the A.M.E. Zion denomination and the NAACP,” said Benjamin Todd Jealous, NAACP president & CEO. “I valued and relied upon his wise counsel and will sorely miss him.”
Holmes was born April 13, 1951 in Greenwood, Miss. to the late Tommy and Ruby Holmes. His ministry began at the age of 13, and he received his first pastorate at the age of 15. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1974 from Morris Brown College, Atlanta, Ga.; his Master of Divinity from Hood Theological Seminary, Salisbury, N.C.; and his Doctor of Ministry in 2002 from the Chicago Theological Seminary, Chicago, Ill.
His first pastorate was St. Matthew A.M.E. Zion Church in Whitmire, S.C. (1975-78), followed by Mt. Lebanon A.M.E. Zion Church in Elizabeth City, N.C. (1978-82), Wesley Center A.M.E. Zion Church in Pittsburgh, Pa. (1982-88), and the Greater Walters A.M.E. Zion Church in Chicago, Ill. (1988 – 2004).
Holmes was consecrated the 92nd bishop of the A.M.E. Zion Church in August 2004 during the 47th General Conference. He was assigned to the Western Episcopal District, which includes the Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon-Washington and the South West Rocky Mountain Conferences. Upon the death of Bishop Milton A. Williams, he was assigned the Michigan Annual Conference and Central Africa (Malawi and Mozambique). In 2008 he was assigned to the Mid-West Episcopal District which includes Michigan, Tennessee, Kentucky, Missouri, Indiana and Central Africa (Malawi and Mozambique).
In July 2012 Holmes was assigned to serve the North Eastern Episcopal District which includes New York, New England, Western New York, the Bahamas Islands and London-Midland. In December 2012 he was appointed presiding prelate of the Cape Fear Conference upon the death of the late Bishop James E. McCoy.
Holmes has served the A.M.E. Zion Church as a member of the Connectional Budget Board; the Department of Ministerial Relief; delegate to the General Conference; delegate to the World Methodist Conference; former assistant secretary to the Board of Trustees of Hood Theological Seminary; and former president and secretary of the Hood Alumni Association.
At the time of his death he served as the secretary of the Board of Trustees for Livingstone College; vice chairman of the Hood Theological Seminary Board of Trustees; visiting member at Chicago Theological Seminary; member of the NAACP Image Awards Committee; and member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc.
Holmes was the recipient of numerous awards. including UNCF Alumni of the Year Award, Morris Brown College; Hood Theological Seminary Recognition Award; Personalities of the South the Eleventh Edition; Former president of the Pasquotank County (N.C.) NAACP; member of the Pittsburgh Branch NAACP Executive Committee; Champion of Justice Award – Redistricting of Pittsburgh, PA; city of Chicago Honorary Street sign, June 2000 (Rev. Roy A. Holmes Boulevard) at corner of 84th and Damen, Chicago, IL; and Who’s Who in Executive and Businesses 2001-2002, and the 2003 Monarch Award in the category of Religion from the Xi Nu Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Chicago, Ill., and the Outstanding Leadership Award from the Ministerial Alliance Against the Digital Divide (MAADD), Chicago, Ill.
Bishop Holmes is survived by his wife Lovetta Goodson Holmes, two daughters and two grandchildren. Final Services will be held on Monday, May 13, at Greater Walters A.M.E. Zion Church, Chicago. Interment will follow in Mount Hope Cemetery, Chicago.