Pastor Kent Hollis
Hello, I'm Kent Hollis, and I was born on January 13, 1959 at the Lutheran Hospital in Fort Wayne, IN to parents Bradley and Julie Hollis. I was blessed with one older sister, Laurie who lives with her husband in Keller, TX which is in the Dallas / Fort Worth area.
My parents were members of St. John Lutheran Church in downtown Fort Wayne, and therefore I have been a member of a Lutheran Church my whole life. The church was a true spiritual home where I made friends and became active in the Luther League serving as president. While at St. John I had many opportunities to serve including being part of a call committee.
Upon graduation from South Side High School, I attended Valparaiso University which operated under the guidance of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod. My intention was to pursue a career as a journalist, but I ended up with a major in political science and a minor in journalism.
Upon graduation I worked for my father who owned his own piano business for a year and then moved back to Valparaiso after marrying Julie Watson in August 1982. Julie had one year left until graduation after which time we packed up our belongings and headed to Columbus, OH where I enrolled at Trinity Lutheran Seminary. My life got a little complicated at this point. I attended classes faithfully for a year and a semester before deciding that perhaps I was meant for another calling. We moved to the Chicago area and lived in the northwest suburbs where Julie’s family and extended family lived.
While in the Chicago area I worked at a health insurance company called “Trustmark” and began as a disability claims processor. Soon I was promoted to supervisor and then was given a customer service unit to build and supervise. While I enjoyed my days at Trustmark, I was still unsettled in my calling in life and was led back to a formal calling in ministry. I entered the seminary again in 1995 and graduated in 1998.
It was during my return to seminary that my marriage of 15 years ended. By this time, we had three wonderful children, Katelyn, Leah and Eric. I had one year of seminary left when the divorce occurred and insisted on joint custody of my children. After graduating I decided to stay in the Columbus area until my children graduated from high school. I first served at Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Hide-A-Way Hills, OH about one hour south of Columbus. This was a part-time call and so I also worked for Lutheran Social Services of Ohio doing chaplaincy ministry in hospitals in the Columbus area.
About three years later I took a full-time position as Associate Pastor at Resurrection Lutheran Church in Hilliard, OH which is a suburb of Columbus. When the senior pastor resigned to take another call I also had to resign as we had what was called a “co-terminus” contract in which any pastor serving under the senior pastor also had to leave if the senior pastor vacated his position.
From there I received a full-time call at Grace Lutheran Church in Jackson Center, OH which was a small town about one and a half hours from Columbus. I served as the only pastor at Grace which worshipped about 175 people on a Sunday for nine years. One of the most significant events that occurred during the time I served at Grace was our leaving the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA) to join the North American Lutheran Church (NALC). It was during my time at Grace that I was also diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) which I soon discovered was one of the best leukemias to have as it is the most treatable. I have only had to take a daily prescription for this and my life expectancy is normal.
I resigned from Grace effective November 24, 2016 and began serving St. John in Metropolis on December 1, 2016 as an interim. My original intent was to go into the mission field but not too long after I arrived at St. John the NALC informed me that given my medical condition, there was no mission insurance policy that would cover me. Thankfully, God always provides, and the St. John congregation asked me to stay on and become their pastor. I am now under a regular call at St. John which will last as long as the Church and pastor agree that it is a good fit.
My oldest daughter Katelyn served in Haiti for four years and is now living in Naples, FL with grandparents on her mom’s side and supervising at a local juice bar / restaurant while also working part-time for “Haiti Design Co-op where she was based while in Port-Au-Prince Haiti. I was blessed to officiate at Leah’s and her now husband Ben Welton’s wedding while serving at Grace in Jackson Center, OH. They are currently serving in Honduras about an hour outside of the major city of Tegucigalpa at a Christian based facility called, “The Ranch” for Honduran children who have been removed from their homes. My son Eric currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI where he works for the Christian based organization, Young Life. He coaches youth soccer and basketball as well.
I have enjoyed my call to St. John and have felt very much appreciated ever since arriving here. I also love the area which is very scenic and provides a wonderful landscape in which to hike and bike and feel very blessed to be serving this Church and community!