On Sunday, April 7, 1946, Rev. Curtis Holloman, a member of Calvary Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia, preached his trial sermon from Salem’s pulpit. He had been ordained by his home church and completed graduate work at the University of Richmond and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky. Salem and Mt. Hermon extended a call and he and Ernestine arrived at Salem in June of 1946 to begin his pastoral duties.
Eleven years later Sadie Pitts in her History of Salem Baptist Church stated: “He is an ambitious, persevering, energetic leader and keenly alert to the progress of the affairs of the Kingdom. This year marks his eleventh year as pastor of Salem and Mt. Hermon. His efforts have enlivened and invigorated his churches and from all appearances are in a harmonious and progressive condition… . During these eleven years the physical progress of the church has been marked.”
Ernestine worked for the glory of God by supporting his ministry in many ways during the 25 years they served Salem. She was active in WMU and assisted in establishing the Nannie Bland David Circle for young working women. Her role in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School included teaching classes and playing the piano. In addition to her church ministry, looking after her husband and their two young children, she taught science at the old Caroline High School.
There were many changes and improvements while Curtis and Ernestine were at Salem. A few include:
On July 2, 1952 Salem celebrated its 150th anniversary. In that year the $24,000 education building was completed. This was 100 years after the building of the present sanctuary.
In October of 1960 Mount Hermon called a minister and Curtis began to devote full time to his work at Salem. This ended a 32 year practice of the two churches sharing a pastor.
A basement, kitchen, dining area and central oil heat were added to the parsonage in 1963.
Sadly on June 22, 1971 a funeral service for Curtis was held in Salem’s sanctuary with burial at Riverview Cemetery, Richmond. He was 49 years old.
Before his death he had a passion for Salem to enlarge and upgrade the sanctuary. In June of the year following his death the enlarged and renovated sanctuary was dedicated to his memory . The pulpit had been enlarged, the choir loft, Sunday School rooms, and a basement added. The interior was redecorated and new pews, central heat and air installed.
Shortly after Curtis succumbed to cancer, Ernestine returned to her mother’s home in Buckingham County where she taught at the high school until retirement.
Because of her love and concern for the people of Salem she remained a loyal member and kept touch. In April her son, Marc, brought her to our Senior Luncheon. She had suffered a stroke, but had recovered and enjoyed her visit. Her last communication included, in addition to her monthly offering, a contribution to the Alma Hunt Offering for State Missions. Ernestine was laid to rest beside Curtis on September 17.
Her son, Marc, is semi- retired, and plays the organ for a church in Roanoke. Her daughter, Connie Sue King, and her husband, Russell, live in Wise, North Carolina where she teaches third graders. They have two young adult children, Brandon and Jennifer.
What a legacy the Hollomans have left for their family and Salem!!!
“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people…..” (Hebrews 6:10