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Churches: Long-time pastor will retire from Pawleys Presbyterian

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

The dean of pastors on the Waccamaw Neck will retire at the end of June.

The Rev. Frank Holsclaw will end his 31-year tenure at Pawleys Island Presbyterian Church with the service on June 28.

“In the last few months I have prayed and thought about retiring,” Holsclaw said, “and it would be 45 years in July since I started in the ministry. I thought, well that would be a good time.”

Holsclaw entered the ministry in 1970 as an associate pastor at Signal Mountain Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., and spent 10 years as pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Cleveland, Tenn., before coming to Pawleys Island in 1983.

“It’s amazing, the 31 years have gone by so fast,” said Holsclaw, 74. “Even though I’ve been in the ministry for 45 years, God’s not finished with me yet. I have hopes of other kinds of ministries while we are living in the community.” He plans to remain an active member of the Georgetown County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs and Kiwanis Club and to stay busy as a supply preacher in the presbytery.

When Holsclaw arrived with his wife, Gail, and two daughters, Pawleys Island Presbyterian’s congregation worshipped in the small building that now houses the Bread of Life Soup Kitchen. The present sanctuary and educational building were built in 1989, as so many things in Pawleys Island seem to be, on the eve of Hurricane Hugo. The sanctuary opening was delayed a month to replace shingles ripped off by the wind. “We were fortunate,” Holsclaw said. The church opened its Open Door Fellowship Center three years ago.

“The first thing I would say is my life has been blessed in that God called me to Pawleys Island as pastor of the church here because this is a congregation that is full of people with love, faithfulness and dedication. People are generous and hard-working. Also I have been blessed with a good wife, who has supported me all through my entire ministry.

In addition to their church work, Frank and Gail Holsclaws are best known for starting the JOY School. “When we first came here,” Holsclaw said, “the church wanted to start a program for special needs children because we had two special needs children. We had a similar program in Cleveland, Tenn. My wife was the first director of JOY School. I give her credit for that.”

Holsclaw said the school is in its 30th year at Pawleys Island Presbyterian but has benefitted from other churches, community and civic organizations and foundations. “We have been able to offer that program for the community, not just our church,” he said. “To me that’s another of the joys of being here in Pawleys Island. My entire ministry, I’ve enjoyed a relationship with other churches in the community where we have done ministry together. All Saints and the Community Church have supported JOY School. We have participated in the community Lenten services every year. I think that’s one of the unique things about the community and why I love being here. From the very beginning I found this community really reaching out to people. It’s still so today.”

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