By Sharon Mager
GLEN BURNIE, Md.—James “Ward” Holland Jr. died peacefully on July 31, 2018. He was 82. A funeral was held on August 3 at Faith Baptist Church, Glen Burnie.
Holland grew up in Crisfield, Md., attending Crisfield High School where he was a star football player. He continued his academic and athletic career at Mars Hill Jr. College, North Carolina, and at Furman University, South Carolina. He then attended Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he obtained a Bachelor of Divinity and later a Master of Divinity.
Through the years, he and his wife of 58 years, June, who ministers with the Baptist Convention of Maryland/Delaware (BCM/D) in the areas of Bible teaching and children’s ministries, faithfully ministered together in many Maryland churches.
Ward was licensed to preach at Loch Raven Baptist Church, and he went on to pastor Norbeck Baptist Church, Rockville; College Parkway Baptist Church, Arnold; Riverside Baptist Church, Baltimore, First Baptist Church of Kent Island, Stevensville, and then again at Riverside Baptist Church. After retirement, he still served in an interim capacity and supported June in her ministry to the churches.
In addition to his pastoral ministries, Ward was active in denominational life. He served on the BCM/D’s General Mission Board on a variety of committees and as a BCM/D vice president. In addition, he served as moderator for the Arundel, Montgomery and Baltimore Baptist Associations. He directed Sunday School growth campaigns in nine states, as well as helped with church training growth projects in several states.
Having a heart for missions near and far, Ward and June traveled to many countries including Latvia, Haiti, and Africa to share the Gospel.
Offering the opening prayer at his funeral, former BCM/D Executive Director David Lee shared 1 Corinthians 15:8, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”
That verse describes Ward Holland, Lee said. “He was steadfast, unmoveable, Ward was always there. You could always depend on him,” Lee said. “Ward was exactly where Ward needed to be.”
And he stuck in there, he added.
James Dixon, Jr., pastor of El Bethel Baptist Church, Fort Washington, read Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for a time of adversity.”
Holland was a friend, Dixon said. Dixon and his wife, Dessie, had traveled on a mission trip to Alaska together with Ward and June, where their “hearts were knitted together.”
“Ward had the heart of a pastor,” Dixon said. “He loved the people he pastored, and he had a heart to preach the Word of God.”
During a general sharing time, many told short stories of Ward’s faithfulness, love, and his great sense of humor.
Gail, who served as a flower girl at Ward and June’s wedding over five decades ago, said Ward wanted everyone to hear about salvation.
Tammy, one of Ward’s nieces, said even in his last days he was reaching out to doctors and nurses, sharing the love of Jesus. He was loving, caring and amusing, she said.
Several pastors stood to share. “Ward loved Jesus with all he had,” said Rick Hancock, family minister and interim staff director at Immanuel Church, Huntingtown.
Michael Mattar, pastor of Hope Fellowship Church, Virginia, called Ward a “great example” and a “true servant.”
In his message, Jim McBride, pastor of New Harvest Baptist Church, Dover, Del., said, “He was truly a man for all seasons.” McBride and his wife Daphne had traveled with Ward and June on a bus to Niagara Falls for a Sunday school conference. They talked along the way, played “UNO” for hours, and they became lifelong friends for 38 years.
McBride said, “Ward was always the same in all circumstances. What you saw is what you got.”
He dearly loved his wife and his extended family, McBride said. He also loved the convention, and the churches he pastored, “but most importantly, he loved Jesus.”
McBride said Ward was prepared to preach “in season and out of season.” He knew what preaching meant to a large group or one-to-one, and he was faithful.
Interment was held on August 6, at Fort Lincoln Cemetery, 3401 Bladensburg Road, Brentwood, Maryland 20722.
In lieu of flowers, June asks that memorials in his name be made to Building Families for Children; CentrePointe Counseling, Inc.; or Native American Link Ministries.