Sardis’ Pleasant Hill honors pastor for 30 years of servicecomment (0)
September 15, 2011
By Julie Payne
Members and friends of Pleasant Hill Baptist Church, Sardis, surprised Pastor David B. Thomas and his wife, Donna, with an Aug. 3 celebration commemorating their 30 years of ministry at the Selma Baptist Association church.
“That celebration was not only a shock in the most pleasant sense but it was one of the truly great blessings of our lives,” Thomas said. The celebration also recognized the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary this December.
The surprise was engineered largely by Charles T. Carter, pastor emeritus of Shades Mountain Baptist Church, Vestavia Hills, who served as Pleasant Hill Baptist’s recent revival speaker. Carter worked closely with the deacons to plan the celebration, which was held after the concluding revival service.
In a July 12 letter he addressed to friends of the church alerting them of the event, Carter noted, “Very few pastors in any denomination stay in one church this long — and we have all been blessed by this extended ministry.”
In addition to surprising the Thomases with a celebration, the organizers surprised them with a large 3-foot-by-6-foot check comprised of monetary gifts totaling $6,600 from church members and friends.
David Thomas quipped, “We were so surprised that one of the church members said to me following the service … ‘You looked like a deer in headlights!’
“As I’ve said to Dr. Carter, to the congregation and to others who were affiliated with the whole effort, there’s no way that Donna and I could adequately express the appreciation that we have felt,” he added.
“The response was just overwhelming,” chairman of deacons Teddy Pouncey said of the contributions that poured in.
Thomas initially began serving at Pleasant Hill in late 1981 and was eventually called as pastor.
Before attending seminary in 1965, he was a social worker for the state of Alabama and was drawn to the field of counseling. While in seminary, Thomas took all the counseling electives he could take.
Thomas went on to become director of adult outpatient service for Selma Community Mental Health Center, which served Dallas, Perry and Wilcox counties, and for several years, he also served as director of emergency services. He remained in that role until retiring in 1998.
All the while, he maintained both his bivocational pastoral role at Pleasant Hill and a limited solo practice in counseling and consultation.
Thomas holds the titles of licensed professional counselor, national certified counselor, certified clinical mental health counselor and diplomate of the National Board for Certified Clinical Hypnotherapists.
He said being a bivocational pastor is a privilege and credited both the support of his congregation and encouragement of his wife with his ability to successfully balance his career as a pastor and counselor.
“The understanding and support and patience of the church congregation has been a major factor,” Thomas explained.