Elder Joseph Solomon called Bishop Nathaniel Holcomb a one-of-a-kind man.
Holcomb, the Christian House of Prayer founder and longtime pastor, died Tuesday at the age of 66.
“He was, first of all, a godly man. A man who was not perfect, but he was Godly,” said Solomon, who is with The Refuge Corporation, an extension of CHOP, based in Copperas Cove. “I had the privilege to be around him outside of church. It was an honor to serve him and help him.”
A visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Cathedral of the Central Texas Christian House of Prayer, 3300 E. Stan Schlueter Loop. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday at the church. Chisolm’s Family Funeral Home in Killeen is in charge of Holcomb’s funeral arrangements. The family will be having a private burial.
Solomon was one of many area pastors who helped cultivate a communion of thousands of believers in Central Texas and beyond through CHOP, one of the biggest churches in Central Texas.
CHOP serves as the parent organization for The Refuge Corporation — a community awareness and assistance service — and also sponsors Camp Victory for children each year. Solomon, who coordinates the nonprofit, said he has never met anybody like Holcomb.
Holcomb would pick wanderers off Interstate 35 and U.S. Highway 190 without much questioning, according to Solomon. There was one instance, Solomon recalls, that he got a phone call from the bishop, who had just encountered somebody distraught about not attending a family funeral.
“He put him up in a motel, and said, ‘Let’s get him an airplane ticket to where he needs to go.’ He didn’t ask a lot of questions. He just helped you.”
In remembrance of Holcomb’s impact to the community, Solomon remembers a certain wish of Holcomb’s. A wish that coincides with a signature phrase of the CHOP ministry.
“He never wanted anything named after him,” Solomon said. “He said, ‘It’s all about Him.’ When it’s all about Him, he’s talking about Jesus Christ. And he lived that.”
Chad Rowe, the pastor of Destiny World Outreach in Killeen, remembered Holcomb as a “very unique and very special” leader who welcomed other ministers with open arms.
“Through the entire time, he has always been a great encourager, loving everybody,” Rowe said. “When I stepped into ministry, he gave a very warm welcome and embraced me.”
Rowe, who met Holcomb through a shared pastor, Bob Miller, around 20 years ago, recalled Holcomb’s grace as Destiny World Outreach built its first complex early in Rowe’s ministry.
“He came while we were in the middle of our construction, just pulled up out of nowhere and prayed over it and blessed it,” Rowe said. “He was very encouraging of other work that was happening in the community.”
Despite the hole that Holcomb’s death will leave, Rowe is hopeful that his work will lead to new leaders stepping into the void.
“It’s hard to replace that role men like him just seem to walk into naturally,” Rowe said. “It will be a great loss, but on the other hand, people will emerge that God will raise up. He was very unique and very special. It is a great loss.”
Bishop Clarence Drummond of United Faith Church in Copperas Cove described Holcomb as a critical figure in the Central Texas community and beyond.
“On behalf of my wife and I, he’s going to be greatly missed,” Drummond said. “We were all very close friends. We all got started in the ministry together in the area.”
Drummond said he and Holcomb got started in the ministry field in Central Texas around the same time in the early 1980s.
Above all, Drummond said he remembers Holcomb as a friend.
Drummond remembers small gestures that still resonate years later. Holcomb would help set up chairs for worship service. He would help watch over kids.
“He was just a good person, a people person,” Drummond said. “The kind who said, ‘Do what you can do.’
“We were like blood brothers helping one another.”
Holcomb’s reach extended to the opposite side of Killeen in Harker Heights, as Bishop LaDell Thomas Jr. of Cathedral of Deliverance and Praise also said farewell to the late pastor.
“Another giant and prophetic voice has paused through the silence of death,” Thomas said.
Central Texas residents responded in a torrent of condolences across all social media platforms when the news of Holcomb’s death broke Wednesday evening. As of Saturday, the Herald’s original story on Holcomb posted to Facebook Tuesday night has reached 38,128 individuals.
Nearly 650 have shared the news story, and 78 have left comments on the Herald’s post.
“My late sister Michelle Black-Thompson would send me tapes and CDs of this awesome man of God ... He will be missed. Condolences to the family and friends,” commented K Renae Robinson.