Making a difference, inspiring others through the spoken word, with a friendly smile or offering comfort simply by his presence were acts of compassion and caring that Rev. K. David Holmes did regularly during his long career in the ministry.
Now that Reverend Holmes has retired one can be quite confident he will keep on doing those very things.
“I love people,” he said candidly. “I get my energy from people.”
Rev. Holmes, the former Priest in Charge, Rimbey Anglican Church of the Epiphany and Pastor of the Grace Lutheran Churchin Bentley and chaplain of Rimbey Hospital has retired.
He is 77 years-old and he thinks it’s time.
Holmes began his career at the age of 19. He had grown up in Red Deer and his father, Ronald Holmes, owned Holmes DrugStore. The oldest of three children, Holmes could have followed his father’s footsteps and become a pharmacist, but decided, instead, to join the Anglican Church Army.
He spent 17 years in the church army, becoming a captain. After training in Toronto, he worked for six months as a port chaplain welcoming immigrants coming into Canada.
He then worked with the Anglican Church Army in Manitoba on the east side of Lake Winnipeg. At that time he was responsible for five parishes.
In the early ’60s he moved to Barrhead where he spent two years. During this time frame, he married and he and his wife later adopted three children.
His next move took him to Kamloops, B.C. where he spent several years working for the church army in The Kamloops Christian Hostel. He found the work at the hostel which provided meals and accommodation for homeless men to be challenging and interesting.
Holmes was ordained as a priest in the Anglican Church in 1978, 17 years after he went into training for the church army.
The next move took the family to Moose Jaw, Sask. where Holmes served as parish priest at St. George’s and St. Anne’s churches. The Holmes spent seven years in this location before moving on to Estevan, Sask. This move was to last 17 years.
By the time Holmes had served almost two decades in Estevan, he was 66-years-old and thinking of retirement.
But, beore he knew it, his plans changed and within a very short time frame, he found himself off to the West Indies, a move he certainly hadn’t anticipated. But he had heard clergy was needed there and decided he would enjoy the experience.
Although only in the West Indies a short time, he has fond memories of the time spent there.
“The people had a heavy dialect. It was extremely hot and no air conditioning. And I was lonely, but when I got home and started thinking about it, I realized I really did enjoy it.”
Retirement seemed more of a real possibility than ever when Holmes returned home from the West Indies, but once again, fate stepped in.
While staying with his sister in Red Deer, he learned that Rimbey’s Anglican Church needed a clergyman. He agreed to go and fill he position on an interim basis.
But, that was 10 years ago. Since moving here, Holmes has served both the Anglican Church in Rimbey and the Lutheran Church in Bentley.
About nine years ago, he became the Chaplain of Rimbey Hospital.
During his lifetime he has traveled extensively, visiting such countries as Australia, Israel, England and Russia.
Now, with a new chapter in his life just beginning, Holmes reflects on his life journey so far.
“I have very much enjoyed the opportunity to connect with so many people and so many opportunities that I have had.”
He admits he is not very good at saying no, but notes that he has often found himself in the right place at the right time.
“My faith and my sense of humour have always got me through,” he said.
Looking at the piano in his living room which is covered with congratulatory retirement cards, he marvels that people have been so benevolent and kind to him.
“They seem to see things in me that I don’t see in myself,” he said.
He was especially humbled by comments made at his retirement party which was attended by around 200 people.
The person speaking said, “David has the ability to bring the spark out in people’s lives.”
Holmes will, no doubt, continue to bring the spark out in others, even as he continues into retirement.
It’s a gift he has been given, not only as a clergyman, but, simply, as a man.