Gloria Holt, prominent lay leader, dies

Gloria E. Holt, a longtime lay leader at every level of The United Methodist Church, has died.

She was a current member of the Commission on General Conference, former president of the United Methodist Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders and presenter of the Laity Address at the 2004 General Conference.

Holt died Aug. 28, due to complications linked to her battle with breast cancer, according to the North Alabama Annual (regional) Conference.

"Gloria is a person who has reminded us of how one individual can make such a difference at many levels," said Bishop Debra Wallace-Padgett, who leads the North Alabama Conference.

In addition to her 2004 address, she served the general church in various volunteer roles. She served on the Commission on General Conference for the 2012 and 2016 gatherings, the Global Ministries Board of Directors, the Mission Volunteers Board of Directors and the United Methodist Board of Church and Society.

"I will remember Gloria as a kind and gentle soul who always sought to see past our divisions to our common ground in Jesus Christ," said the Rev. L. Fitzgerald Reist II, the secretary of the General Conference. "I will miss her, as she was a good partner in our work together."

She was elected a lay delegate from North Alabama to five General Conferences and Southeastern Jurisdictional Conferences (from 1996 through 2012). She was chair of the SEJ Committee on Episcopacy at the time of her death. She also served as president of both the SEJ Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders and the (International) United Methodist Association of Annual Conference Lay Leaders.

In the North Alabama Conference, Holt served as conference lay leader from 1997 to 2006. She served on numerous conference committees and teams, often as chairperson. Some of the committees included the Imagine No Malaria Team, the Conference Committee on Episcopacy, the Conference Board of Ordained Ministry and the Conference Vision Team.

She was a graduate of both Metro Methodism and the Academy for Congregational Development. She was a recipient of the Louise Branscomb Barrier Breaker Award and the Harry Denman Evangelism Award. During the 2012 North Alabama Annual Conference, United Methodist-related Birmingham-Southern College awarded Holt with an Honorary Doctor of Divinity Degree.

Holt shared that her greatest passion for The United Methodist Church was the disciple-making that took place at the local church level.She was active in missions through the United Methodist Women at the local church, district and conference levels.

She and her husband Zollie were founding members of ClearBranch United Methodist Church in Trussville, Ala. Previously, they were active members of Huffman United Methodist Church.

Holt grew up in Birmingham, where she graduated from Ensley High School and the University of Alabama in Birmingham with a degree in criminal justice.

In addition to her husband, she is survived by two children, Melody Hart and Zollie "Bubba" Holt Jr., five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Visitation will be 6 to 8 p.m., Aug. 30, at ClearBranch United Methodist Church. The funeral will be at noon Aug. 31 at the church. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. Adonation pagein memory of Holt has been set up.

*Clifton is director of communication for the North Alabama Conference of The United Methodist Church.

News media contact: Heather Hahn or Tim Tanton, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org.

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