The Baptist Seminary of Kentucky has named its library in honor of longtime supporters Bill and Joyce Holmes, the school announced during its fall convocation Sept. 2.
Bill Holmes, a BSK trustee and former interim president, practiced neurology in Louisville until retiring in 2007. He then completed a Master of Divinity degree and became a hospital chaplain. He and Joyce married in 1968 when Bill was a junior medical student and Joyce was a social worker.
While they value books, Bill Holmes, who delivered the convocation address, told the virtual gathering theological education goes beyond the insights of scholarship. “The theology that has driven my life derives not just from Scripture, commentaries, books, the thoughts of multiple theologians, but it also comes from knowing up close those who suffer in whatever way for whatever reason and trying to see things as they see them,” he said.
Holmes emphasized the need for “real human presence” in ministry and noted it involves all five senses. “We seeeach other with all of our wrinkles and scars,” he said. “We hear each other with all our intonations and nuances. We reach out and touch each other with a hope that we will know each other better and that we will know each other again. Even our sense of smell might identify the significant other in our lives even before we see them.”
The church’s message and ministry must extend to both interpersonal relationships and the broader societal context, he observed. “If we in the church, we in the seminary as the people of God, have nothing to say about the world as it is now, to the particularities of the given time, then we really don’t have anything to say at all, we have nothing to teach, and in fact we may not have a reason to be here at all.”
Responding to his point, Holmes said, “We do have something to say, and we are prone to see it, to say it,” he declared. He explained he has found BSK to be a place where “truth telling” and “truth seeking” are “part of who we are.”
Holmes, now retired from his chaplaincy ministry, is the author of Thoughts from the Bedside: From Medicine to Chaplaincy.
In his remarks announcing the library’s naming, BSK President David Cassady called Bill and Joyce Holmes “incredible supporters of theological education in general and BSK in particular” He cited their participation in the BSK community, their support of its faculty and their commitment to the church’s future. “All of these have led us to choose to name our library for them in gratitude for all they have done and are doing for BSK,” he said. “I know of no other persons who are as generous, as engaged, as visionary — as Bill and Joyce Holmes.”
BSK began its fall semester on Aug. 24 with its largest enrollment since 2011. The school is affiliated with the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and in February became the official seminary of the National Baptist Convention International, Inc.