Giving Thanks for Bishop James Thomas


Dear Friends in Christ,

Fred Pratt Green penned the words below which is the first verse of the hymn Rejoice In God’s Saints (No. 708 in the United Methodist Hymnal). This year as we approach All Saints Day they speak to me poignantly as I continue to rejoice and give thanks for the life, faith and ministry of Bishop James Samuel Thomas.
Rejoice in God's saints, today and all days!
A world without saints forgets how to praise.
Their faith in acquiring the habit of prayer,
their depth of adoring, Lord, help us to share
Bishop James ThomasThere was considerable church press about Bishop Thomas immediately following his death on Sunday, Oct. 10. You can still reference that material at The articles about Bishop Thomas included helpful reminders of historical details about the life of this saint of God. But my memories of his impact on my life and the life of the church are what I have been living most closely with.
As I give thanks for his life and witness I especially call to mind:
·                     His envisioning a church free from structures defined by race
·                     His tireless labor for a church and world of radical inclusivity
·                     His servant leadership that moved people and systems
·                     His practice of mentoring that has shaped countless leaders
·                     His commitment to living a holy life
·                     His integration of “knowledge and vital piety”
·                     His love of his family
You may or may not have known Bishop Thomas. But there have been and there are right now people who have lived in such ways that their lives and faith has influenced you for the good. The invitation of the hymn writer is to Rejoice. So hear him again:
Rejoice in God's saints, today and all days!
A world without saints forgets how to praise.
in loving, in living, they prove it is true:
The way of self-giving, Lord, leads us to you.
Have a blessed All Saints Day. I remain,
Your servant in Christ,
Gregory V. Palmer