Thomas, Connie Marie


June 9, 1958 - Nov. 24, 2009
Sunrise Sunset

Rev. Connie Marie Thomas was born the sixth child to the late Newton Cornelius Thomas, Jr. and Pearl Turner Thomas, on June 9, 1958 in New Orleans , Louisiana . Soon thereafter she was baptized into the African Methodist Episcopal Church with the rest of her family.

She was educated in Orleans Parish Schools where she attended Tommy Lafon and Judah P. Benjamin Elementary Schools, Samuel J. Green Middle and Walter L. Cohen Sr. High. After graduating high school, she attended Meadows Draughon Business College , Tulane University , and the University of New Orleans .

Connie's ministry began at an early age through Payne Memorial AME Church as a Youth Choir Member, Youth Delegate on the Episcopal Level, a Youth Missionary, and a Sunday School Teacher. Her ministry expanded with her leadership of “Fasting Hearts”, an aerobics, health, weight loss programs. She continued to search for fulfillment of her purpose in the kingdom of God , and acknowledged her calling under the leadership of Rev. Lester A. Shaw. Accordingly, she completed her ministry studies at Bonner-Campbell School of Religion, Andersonville Theological Seminary and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She was ordained an Itinerant Elder which granted full connection for Elders in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. Immediately after gaining her credentials, as part of her training for ministry, Connie was assigned to serve at St. Stephen AME Church in Kenner , Louisiana and Mount Zion AME Church in Bridge City , Louisiana . Following God's calling on her life, Connie transitioned from the African Methodist Episcopal Church into the United Methodist Faith. Her first pastoral assignment was at Napoleon Avenue United Methodist Church . There her work opened doors to the community with the enrollment of many students at the Zina Christian Academy , a Christian school for at risk youth, and the Starburst Leadership Team which fostered a nurturing and safe environment for New Orleans youth.

In June of 2005, she was appointed to serve as pastor of Peck United Methodist Church . Her ability to serve this congregation was interrupted by Hurricane Katrina. By God's providence Rev. Thomas was later appointed to serve as Manager of Volunteers of the “Storm Recovery Ministry”. In this position she was credited with having managed and deployed over 30,000 volunteers within a two year period into the devastated areas of Louisiana .

In 2007, Rev. Thomas's ministry continued with her appointment to serve as pastor of Mount Zion United Methodist Church in New Orleans . Her goal was to rebuild Mount Zion 's congregation both physically and spiritually to once again become a leading beacon in the community. The members of Mount Zion supported Rev. Thomas' mission to reach out through the Good Samaritan program which distributed Salvation Army vouchers to the homeless coupled with distributing clothes and food to those in need. Mount Zion partnered with Rayne Memorial United Methodist Church to launch “Luke's House”, a transportable medical clinic developed for the homeless and uninsured.

By divine order in June, 2009, Rev. Thomas was appointed to pastor Trinity and Union Chapel United Methodist Churches , in Bunkie and Boyce , Louisiana respectively. Her commitment to God's work continued until she was called to meet the Lord.

Prior to her call to preach the gospel, Rev. Thomas spent more than 20 years in corporate America in mid-level and senior level management. Ten of those years were spent as Executive Assistant to the Honorable Marc H. Morial, former Mayor of the City of New Orleans .

Rev. Thomas' charismatic nature and obvious enthusiasm for her work enabled her to reach a broad spectrum of many groups of people, including clergy, businessmen, celebrities, the disabled community, senior citizens, youth, local and national government officials, including former President William Clinton and Vice-President Al Gore. Rev. Thomas also garnered many certificates of recognition and awards by variations of public and private organizations.

Connie's love for children led her to commit to parenting two handsome sons Christopher and Demarco Follins. Her lifelong mission was to nurture, inspire and empower the people of God. She remained energetic and focused with her passion to reach people for Christ. Her favorite saying was “Get to know God”. “The people who know their God shall be strong and do great exploits” Daniel 11:38

Cherryle Temple-Young

Source: Louisiana Conference Journal, 2010

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