The Rev. Jeffery R. Thomas, a Paine College religion professor and pastor who extensively traveled to advocate for the United Methodist Church and higher education, died Wednesday at his home in Augusta from a reported heart attack. He was 49.
The Rev. Jeffery R. Thomas was pastor at Augusta's Trinity CME Church.
Thomas, who graduated summa cum laude from Paine College in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in philosophy and religion, was a persistent voice for equal rights, education and services for the poor.
He pressed for more economic aid for the homeless in California and played a leading role in attracting a youthful presence to the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church across central Georgia.
The funeral will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at Trinity CME Church at 2930 Glenn Hills Drive, where Thomas had served as pastor since 2010.
"Rev. Thomas truly answered the call in his life to be a minister," said the Rev. Jetson Maness, the presiding elder of the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church's Augusta-Sparta district.
Maness, a close friend and fellow minister of Thomas for 15 years, gave Thomas his first pastoral appointment in 2006 to lead the Raise Bridge CME Church in Waynesboro, Ga.
Maness said Thomas' leadership, friendship and overall fun-loving charisma will be greatly missed in the community and the church.
"He was a lovable people person, an outgoing minister that had a type of magnetism about himself that just made followers in Christ want to be near him," Maness said. "I cannot fully explain his many contributions to the church."
Thomas was licensed to preach the gospel in 1995, ordained in 2002 and became an elder in 2006 in the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church. He served in churches including Westwood United Methodist Church and Holman United Methodist Church, both in Los Angeles.
Source: Augusta Chronicle | Wesley Brown