Alumni/ae Volunteer Award – Reunion 2006

The Reverend Mimi Hollister believes in ‘taking on the world wherever it comes to you.”  What better philosophy for a volunteer?

Mimi learned in childhood that the world can come to you unexpectedly.  Born in China to second-generation Methodist missionary parents, she fled China with them during World War II and again during the Maoist Revolution in 1949, finally settling in New York City.  For college, Mimi chose Drew, a “nice Methodist school.”  Although at the time she did not anticipate becoming an ordained minister, she later found her Drew religion major very helpful.  She speaks of James Pain, now Dean of the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies, as a “wonderful guide and teacher.”

Marriage followed graduation, and Mimi and her husband raised two girls and a boy in California.  She volunteered in her children’s activities and in her church, and became involved in a support group for the Los Angeles Master Chorale.  Her commitment to environmental and social concerns led her to the San Fernando Valley’s Fair Housing Council, and to educating the public about nuclear power plants.  She also completed an M.A. in marriage, family and child counseling at Immaculate Heart College and engaged in pastoral counseling.

Returning to New York City, Mimi enrolled at Union Theological Seminary and immediately realized her call to ministry.  She was ordained in the United Church of Christ after completing her Master of Divinity degree in 1991.  While in New York, she worked for sustainable development and socially responsible investing through connections with the World Council of Churches, encouraged Riverside Church to invest responsibly, and became an advocate for the homeless.

Mimi’s second marriage to the Reverend William Hollister, a Presbyterian minister, took her to Marblehead, Massachusetts.  After moving to New Hampshire, Mimi initiated a global partnership between the United Church of Christ’s New Hampshire Conference and the UCC of Zimbabwe and served as the partnership’s part-time minister in mission.  The partnership has grown rapidly, and 40 New Hampshire churches now have sister churches in Zimbabwe.

In recent years Mimi has worked hard for Drew, especially as a strong leader of the Class of 1956’s spectacular success in funding their class scholarship.  Now retired and widowed, Mimi is back in Marblehead.  She is still taking on the world, continuing as a consultant to the global partnership and educating her broker in responsible investing!