If you attend the 10 o’clock service, chances are you already know Lynnette Holder and Roberta Holder-Mosley. With rare exceptions they are in place each Sunday, Lynnette in the chancel as an acolyte and Roberta in the organ loft as a chorister — you might say they hold down opposite ends of the church.
The sisters have been making the trek to 99th and Amsterdam from Crown Heights, Brooklyn, since the mid-1980s. Though they grew up as Christadelphians, their maternal grandmother was baptized in an Anglican church in Barbados. “We seem to have come full circle,” Lynnette says.
It’s been a full-family commitment. Says Roberta, “I was married at St. Michael’s; all five of my blended-marriage children were baptized at St. Michael’s. Their father was memorialized there and he’s in the columbarium. And the next generation is my 4-year-old granddaughter, who was baptized there and goes to Sunday school regularly.”
Lynnette is the supervisor of a clinical chemistry lab in a hospital, while Roberta is in a second career with the New York City Department of Health after retiring from the federal government.
Why travel so far so faithfully? In large part, for the ministry opportunities each has found here. Lynnette recounts that when she was growing up, as a woman “you didn’t lead prayer, you didn’t lead service, you did not give a sermon.” She is also aware that as a black woman acolyte, she is very visible: “If I can be up here, anyone can be up here.” (Anyone who has seen Lynnette’s expert handling of the thurible on a festival Sunday might disagree that “anyone” could do it.)
Roberta has found special fulfillment singing in the alto section of the volunteer choir. Her granddaughter’s ministry? Sharing her positive personality!
Both sisters also appreciate less obvious aspects of St. Michael’s. Roberta says, “Do you know the expression, ‘a thin place?’ Where it’s easier to get closer to the Spirit? The very first time I walked into St. Michael’s I felt that.” Lynnette adds, “St. Michael’s is my home church. People here have known me since who-knows-when. That’s hard to find in New York.”