Meet our Pastor

More about Carolyn...

More about Carolyn...

Lead Pastor

Coming to The Garden was not in her plans; however, it was in God’s plan. As the Lead Pastor since September 2015, Reverend Dr. Carolyn Scanlan-Holmes is the spiritual leader for The Garden Community Church, and is excited to lead The Garden into the future.

Before The Garden

Originally from the Chicago area, Carolyn came to Indianapolis to study music at Butler University – Go Bulldogs! After graduation Carolyn decided to stay in Indianapolis where she worked in an office during the day, sang with her band at night and spent Sundays at her church working as a soloist and eventually Children’s Music Director. After starting a successful program at Geist Christian Church, Carolyn was called to St. Luke’s UMC to work as the Children’s Music and Fine Arts Director. It was from St. Luke’s that Carolyn felt called to explore full-time ordained ministry. She graduated with a Masters of Divinity from the Christian Theological Seminary in 1997, and was ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in 1998.

In 2005, Carolyn graduated with a Doctor of Ministry from McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. After graduation, she went to San Francisco to serve as an Intern at GLIDE Memorial UMC, a community known for its great diversity, community service and outreach. She was at GLIDE until she was called to Avon Christian Church in west Indianapolis.

Carolyn and Avon Christian Church had just finished a building campaign. She was looking forward to catching her breath but the UMC Bishop contacted her about coming to The Garden. The congregation was about to go independent from St. Luke’s UMC and the founding pastor Dr. Linda McCoy was retiring. The Garden had a lean structure and staff. At first, she was reluctant to take on such a challenge. But we know that God doesn’t always call one to what they want to do but to where we are needed. And it seems we (The Garden and Carolyn) both needed each other.

Life @ The Garden

Although there is no such thing as a typical week at The Garden, Carolyn is passionately steadfast about her pastoral role and serving the community. Along with overseeing operations, regular staff meetings, and preparing for Sunday’s services, she also spends 100 minutes per week mentoring in Wayne Township, and facilitating community outreach programs.

Now that The Garden has moved through the challenges that come with change, Carolyn is able to spend more of her time in creative leadership, enjoying her work with Rhonda Baker, the Garden’s Creative Music Director, and Jilliane Pruiett, the Garden’s business administrator.

Carolyn serves on The Garden’s Leadership, Outreach, and Human Resources teams. She is also a member of the Executive Committee at Christian Theological Seminary.

She and the Reverend Dr. Andrew Holmes, Lead Pastor at Roberts Park UMC, met while they were both working at St. Luke’s UMC, and were married on 11/11/11. Carolyn says she and Andrew are a great example of how opposites attract, or how faith can come together from different points of view.

In the little free time she has, she enjoys watching movies and reading. Carolyn has a creative spirit and enjoys living into that spirit. In fact, although it has never been published, Carolyn wrote a children’s book entitled “My Neighborhood” about a group of children coming together in spirit amongst great tragedy.

Her faith is driven by music of all types so The Garden’s progressive spiritual approach and blending of the sacred and secular truly fills her soul.