Bishop Nathaniel Holcomb, the founder and longtime pastor of the Christian House of Prayer in Killeen, died Tuesday, according to the church and members of the congregation.
He was 66 years old.
On its Facebook page Tuesday evening, the church posted a photo of Holcomb with a statement on his passing.
“Our Beloved Apostle, Bishop and Pastor Nate Holcomb received his promotion this afternoon and is now in the presence of the Lord,” the post read.
“Apostle Nate fought a good fight and he finished his course on this side,” said Bishop LaDell Thomas Jr., with Cathedral of Deliverance and Praise in Harker Heights, in a post. “He will be greatly missed but never forgotten.”
Killeen City Councilman Gregory Johnson, a congregant at the church, remembered Holcomb in a Facebook post Tuesday evening, calling him a role model.
“He lived a rich and fruitful life that inspired many generations to follow and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior,” Johnson wrote. “He has left a true legacy and example for aspiring servant leaders like myself to follow.”
Holcomb was born and raised in Philadelphia. He arrived at Fort Hood in January 1980 and “immediately began a Bible study that took roots and blossomed in the first week,” according to the pastor’s biography on the church’s website.
With an original membership of 13 people, he started the Christian House of Prayer Ministries in 1981, which is now one of the largest ministries in the Central Texas area. Holcomb said he was called by God to leave the service and enter the ministry.
The congregation was initially housed in a small storefront space in Copperas Cove but broke ground for the current church, with a 2,000-seat sanctuary, on Stan Schlueter Loop in Killeen in late 1999. The new church opened in October 2001.
Many pastors and ministers in the United States and abroad have adopted Bishop Holcomb and his wife, Valerie, as their Bishop, according to the website. The Christian House of Prayer ministries spans the United States and Europe, it reads.
The church serves as the parent organization for The Refuge Corporation in Copperas Cove — a community awareness and assistance service — and also sponsors Camp Victory for children each year.
Services for Holcomb were pending late Tuesday.