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Man teaches history lessons at school, Bible lessons at church

February 12, 2003|by ASHLEY GORDON

Monday through Friday, Charles Holder teaches from history and sociology books at Williamsport High School.

On Sundays his lessons, as vicar of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Brownsville, come from the Bible.

Holder has been a history teacher at Williamsport High School for 38 years. July will mark the 25th anniversary of his ordination to the Episcopal priesthood.

At Williamsport High, Holder teaches advanced placement U.S. History, advanced placement European History, World History and Sociology, and is the chair of the Department of Social Studies.

Principal John Davidson called Holder "Quite a teacher."

Davidson said that Holder is "fantastic with the kids" because he encourages them to think about the material and to engage in conversations. Davidson also said Holder cares about the students, and is co-sponsor of the Student Government Association, which means he chaperones dances and organizes activities with students.

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Holder said he decided to become a priest for the same reason that he started teaching in 1965, because he wanted to help people.

"I tried to run away from going into the priesthood for several months, but the Holy Spirit caught up with me," said Holder.

The opportunity to go to seminary through an extension became available at St. Luke's, and he stepped up from the congregation.

Holder went to seminary at the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn.

Holder spent one year at St. Andrew's Church in Clear Spring, and then relocated to St. Luke's because it was closer.

Because St. Luke's Church is a mission church, which means it is not part of the Diocese of Maryland, his position of vicar means that he serves the function of bishop, Holder said.

Hailing from Rohrersville, Holder attended Frostburg State University in Hagerstown, where he obtained a master's degree in education.

He lives in Williamsport with his wife, Trudie.

Trudie Holder is in charge of the schooling program at the General Motors plant in Martinsburg, W.Va., and is a lecturer at Shepherd College in Shepherdstown, W.Va. She is pursuing a Ph.D. in business administration over the Internet from Kennedy Western University.

Holder's youngest daughter, Elizabeth Anne, lives in Virginia Beach, Va., with her husband who is a lieutenant in the U.S. Army. His oldest daughter, Trudy, is a purchasing manager for the KIDDE Corporation in Charleston, W.Va., which produces equipment for fire companies.

Holder's father is a resident at the Fahrney-Keedy Nursing Home in Boonsboro and celebrated his 98th birthday on Jan. 29.

Both school and church are busiest during the fall and winter, said Holder. When he needs to escape from the stress of daily life, Holder said gardening is his means of "meditation and relaxation."

He has a vegetable and a flower garden, and last summer, his flower garden had a red, white and blue theme to commemorate the victims of 9/11, Holder said.

To relax, Holder also reads books on history and scripture during the summer.

In the future, Holder hopes to retire from teaching and perhaps find a part-time teaching position. He said he will continue his church work.

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