I was born on January 3, 1929, in Scottsboro, Alabama. My parents were Joe and Minnie Thomas.
On the 4th weekend in September 1940, the Mud Creek Association convened with Union Church. On Friday I was in a quiet, meditative mood. That afternoon my mother decided that we would go home with Brother and Sister Jim Wilborn. Some others went on to Brother Wilborn’s by car, but mother and I and a few others rode in Brother Wilborn’s wagon. As we bounced along, tears were formed in my eyes as I became resolved to offer myself for membership in the church the following day. My mother discerned that something was bothering me. She finally asked if it was about the church. I nodded in the affirmative. Not knowing what to say, she could only pat my shoulder.
After the preaching services on Saturday morning an opportunity to unite with the church was given. The services were held in a grove of trees and a stand had been erected for the ministers. As the invitation song began, I walked forward to the stand. I was only eleven years of age and very small for my age. The stand was too high for me to climb into and Elder H. P. Houk, the Moderator, did not notice my coming and standing at the edge of the stand. I then reached up and caught the cuff of his pants and began jerking it to gain his attention. He looked down, picked me up, and put me in the stand. Six others, including my older sister Kathryn, also came forward. My sister and I were baptized by Elder H. P. Copeland.
My first effort in a public way took place on the 3rd Sunday in June of 1948 at Bethlehem Church near Limrock, Alabama. The deacons of my home church approached me on the churchyard a few minutes before the time of the preaching service. Brother W. H. Butler spoke to me and asked if I would take part in the services that day. Feeling that it would be right to be obedient to the desires of my brethren, I replied that I would do so. When the time came, dear old Elder J. W. Page led me into the pulpit. I opened the Bible to Ezekiel 16:1-6 and read those verses. I spoke for about ten minutes on the subject of original sin and depravity. Amid tears, I took my seat with a mixed sense of relief and a realization that a heavy weight of responsibility was being assumed. From this time forth there has been no place to turn back. In November of 1948 Union Church, while in regular conference, expressed their desire that I should be set apart as a gospel minister. According to the arrangements, we met at Union Church, Woodville, Alabama, in the Mud Creek Association, on Sunday morning, December 5, 1948, at ten o’clock, for that purpose. The presbytery was composed of the following: Elders H. P. Houk, John Page, H. P. Copeland, K W. Yeager, Henry Autry, B. A. Stephens, M. M. Morton, and sixteen deacons. Elder Houk was chosen as moderator and Brother W. M. Butler, clerk. The Moderator appointed Elder Yeager to offer prayer, Elder Autry to question the candidate; and Elder H. P. Copeland to deliver the charge. I have served as a pastor of Union Church continuously from my ordination to the present (February 1998). Through the years I have been called at various other churches as pastor or to fill regular appointments. Among these are Bethel, Mud Creek, Pilgrim’s Rest, Bethlehem, Sweeten’s Cove, Hurricane, New Home, Mount Pisgah and Macedonia. At the present time I am serving Union Church and Macedonia Church.
In conclusion, it has been my sincere desire to uphold sound, scriptural principles of doctrine as well as clean, godly principles of practices in all our churches. I believe in facing the problems of our day with the answers as provided in the Bible. It is my humble desire to be numbered among those who “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”