ST. THOMAS MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
St. Thomas Missionary Baptist Church was organized on January 11, 1925 by the late, Rev. R. T. Thornton, Sr. and 11 members of his family. Rev. Thornton was born in Solitude, Louisiana; thus the reason for the original church being named St. Thomas Solitude Missionary Baptist Church. The name was later changed to St. Thomas Missionary Baptist Church. During these formative years, both membership and location varied. Aside from Brother and Sister Willie Bowie and a few others, most of the membership consisted of the Thornton family in the 1940s (Deacon Thornton’s sons: Clarence, Evins, and Milton, and their families). Upon the death of Rev. Thornton, the late Rev. Ludger Meyer became pastor but the Thornton family remained committed. There is little or no history available concerning Rev. Meyer.
Deacon R. T. Thornton, Jr. sought the ordination of a young minister by the name of Benjamin J. Maxon, Jr. The Church immediately increased in membership. The congregation which included Pastor Maxon’s wife, Emelda; son, Burnell; daughter, Brenda; mother, Ceola; aunt, Alberta Johnson; sister, Lucille Lebeau; and his brother, Joseph.
Under the leadership of Pastor Maxon, the church was relocated to 2926 Jackson Avenue in 1955. Pastor Maxon’s leadership was not only contained within the walls of St. Thomas but was extended throughout the community, state and national level. After 54 years of committed service, Pastor Maxon was called to glory on August 18, 2005. Only days after laying Pastor Maxon to rest, Hurricane Katrina devastated the City of New Orleans. Many homes, churches, businesses, schools, and most importantly lives were lost. Not only was there a city desperately crying out to the Lord for help but we at St Thomas were now without a spiritual leader. To make matters even worse, our Church had been inundated with flood waters and our members were scattered.
“Upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall “not prevail against it…” Matthews 16:18.
After several months of displacement, Deacon Curtis Jones and the Deacon Ministry rallied to reconnect with the membership. In addition, a new leader and a place of worship had to be found. Deacon George Taylor introduced Rev. Johnny Johnson, III, Pastor of First Free Mission Baptist Church of Algiers, LA, to the St. Thomas Family. Rev. Johnson and First Free Mission Baptist Church graciously opened their doors to us. St. Thomas once again had a place to worship. The Hampton Family, who own Hamp’s Construction, also afforded us the use of their business for prayer service, bible study and other meetings necessary to conduct business on behalf of the Church. This included the use of their building for the election of Rev. Willie E. Moore as pastor on August 3, 2006. During the interim, our congregation met to implement plans for the remodeling of our Church. At our first business meeting after the storm, Sis. Audrey D. Hampton asked if the Church would consider rebuilding the facility at 2926 Jackson Avenue rather than remodeling it. At a subsequent meeting, the congregation overwhelmingly voted to demolish the old building and to build a new edifice. Under the tutorledge of Pastor Moore, plans were made to rebuild the Church. God has blessed St. Thomas enormously. Not only do we have a wonderful new pastor but he brings with him a warm, intelligent and charismatic wife; Sharon White Moore. The blessing continues because Pastor Moore also has a strong and courageous membership that has been willing to “walk by faith and not by sight”.
Pastor Willie Moore sought the services of Deacon Charlie Hampton to serve as Building Coordinator, Sister Marlene Wheeler, Building Committee Chairperson and Sister Audrey D. Hampton, Interior Design Coordinator to lead and facilitate the construction of a new sanctuary for the Lord. On July 15, 2007, the congregation witnessed the glorious laying of the foundation for the new sanctuary.
On November 16, 2008, we officially dedicated our new building to God. We praise God for all of His blessings and we pray diligently for the continued growth of Pastor Moore and our congregation. We can envision great days ahead as we reach out to the City of New Orleans and the world in the service of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!