Bishop John Silas Holly
Pentecostal Assemblies of the World
1901 ~ 1979
Bishop John Holly was born in Monroe, Louisiana in 1901. In 1919, at the age of 18 he was saved under the ministry of Elder A.R. Schooler, one of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World's first five bishops. Schooler had a profound impact on John. In 1920, John felt the call to the ministry, and in 1921 was ordained a minister in the P.A.W. For years Holly had the distinction of being the youngest man ever ordained (21 years old).
He pastored the Apostolic Faith Assembly in Chicago, Illinois for 48 years. During the infancy stages of his assembly, he looked to and sought counsel from G.T. Haywood. He would often preach in Haywood's Christ Temple and Haywood would reciprocate by preaching at Apostolic Faith Assembly. Although their age discrepancies would seem to better suit a "Father-Son" relationship, both men had a mutual respect for each other's gifting.
Bishop Holly was one of the most profound Bible scholars in the history of the P.A.W. He studied the Bible extensively. Few, if any could quote scriptures on the level of Bishop Holly. Often times he would approach a pulpit to preach the gospel but with no Bible. His mind was huge! John was elevated to the Bishopric in 1953 and presided as diocesan over the 8th Episcopal District of Illinois for 26 years.
Bishop John Holly was as unique as they come. He loved life and he loved to live it to the highest. John was able to balance his conservative approach to holiness with a gregarious seemingly unbridled zest for living. He loved to travel. He loved good food, and he especially loved to dress. Everywhere Bishop Holly went people were awed by his personality.
Often he used his gift to persuade, cajole, and influence people to bend his way on certain issues. His force of will could be overwhelming. His wife Effie was equally his match and she carried great sway among her peers and contemporaries. John Holly seemed to carry great favor from God. Around 1918 or 1919 when Bishop G.T. Haywood was ascending in stature and power and was in organizing the P.A. of W., he took a liking to John Holly. Haywood was impressed with John's intellect, goal orientation, and relentless quest to be a good minister of the gospel. His most notable achievement may have been that he was a member of the Pentecostal Assemblies of the World for 66 years, right at the beginning of its inception. He and Effie were the parents of five children. On October 16, 1979 Bishop John S. Holly went home to be with the Lord. Audio Recordings of Bishop John Holly are available in our Audio Library.