Dearest Family, Friends, & Supporters,
Al Thomas went to glorious heaven on Sunday, January 10th, 2016 at 4pm. He was sixty-nine. Many people knew him as a traveling evangelist, but I knew him as my dad.
He was born and raised in Baltimore, MD. In his twenties, he hitchhiked across the country to northern California, before settling down in the Los Angeles area. On December 25th, 1971 Jesus Christ walked into his living room and everything changed. He began to go to Church On the Way, pastored by Jack Hayford in the early 1970’s. Also, he got involved with Melody Land Church and School of Theology. He recalled to me several times over the years when Jim Spillman, who was teaching Sunday School for Melody was asked to stop ‘ministering’ because the gifts of the Spirit were being used too much, and was distracting from the main service. Pastor Jim, an anointed traveling minister who flowed in healing and miracles, asked my dad to be his associate for a time, and they travelled across the country.
Around 1981, we travelled to Eau Claire, Wisconsin where my dad planted a church. We returned to California in 1984 where he worked for an aeronautical company. We moved to Hagerstown MD in 1991, and soon he was on staff at Mount Hope Prison Ministry as the After Care Director. Over the next few years, God led him to travel to churches where the Holy Spirit ministered powerfully to people through healings and words of knowledge.
Celebrating His Life Ministries began at this time. He had such a wonderful gift of word of knowledge, prophetic, and healing. It was so clear for him what the Spirit was saying and doing. I was always amazed. I learned a lot by watching him minister. For twenty years he has gone to hundreds of churches. I have heard of so many people healed of all types of ailments. We have countless testimonies at his home. Also, he had a knack to encourage people, give timely words, give financial blessing words, direction, and most of all the presence of the Lord. When my dad was behind that pulpit, and ministering to people, the anointing came on him so powerfully negating any earthly struggle he had.
His teaching ministry was filled with truth, humor, stories, insight, and then always a time for personal ministry. He is probably best known for his delivery style, personal ministry, and monthly newsletter. For almost twenty years he produced a two-sided newsletter that went to thousands. That is rare today.
In 2009 he was diagnosed with esophageal cancer and had surgery. It slowed him down, but he continued in the ministry. I remember traveling with him to Ohio a few years ago and he was still peppy as usual. In the past 6 months he began having issues with his stomach, and they found a large ulcer in November. In December he was not well so they flew him to Baltimore for a procedure to help with some internal bleeding. He came home on Christmas day and the whole family had a wonderful time with him. It is now a special memory. He returned to the hospital a week later, and the doctors said all possible procedures would be high risk. We knew dad, and his wishes, so we spent some wonderful days with him in the hospital, without any more procedures, where on a beautiful Sunday he entered into the glorious freedom of Christ.
On A Personal Note…
My dad was so full of life and wit. He loved book reviews, and books. He always had some new book on his night stand. His love of candy, chocolate, but especially black licorice which left the house appropriately supplied for his enjoyment and grandkid handfuls. If you knew my dad, he was a foody…like nobody I have ever met. He was a polite snob about it too! My tradition with him, and his with me, was after our normal hug, we would open each other’s refrigerators to investigate and discover some cheese, meat or goody. His fridge and freezer were ever full. (Just like his mom’s!) Our normal conversation on the phone was something like this:
Dad: What are you doing?
Me: Nothing really.
Dad: What did you have for dinner?
That’s the truth. He was such a unique person. He loved old movies, and it seemed that the TV was always on over there. Seafood, but especially shrimp was on the menu at least once a week. He was a true Marylander in that regard. And he made the best crab cakes. No restaurant has come close, and I’ve looked. He couldn’t enjoy food as much the last few years, but boy, did he try anyway. Lastly, he loved baseball. I will probably miss that the most about him, it was a bond we had. He was such a friend, such an encourager to me, my wife and our kids. We are so grateful for the time we had with him but sad for the time we lost. He left behind a beautiful wife, 4 children, 8 grandchildren, and Sophie…his Scottish Terrier.
As We Move Forward…
– Testimonies: If you have a testimony of receiving from God because of this ministry, it would be wonderful for us to hear from you. We would like to honor his name, as he honored Christ’s. Please click HERE to use the “Contact” form or mail us your testimony as we would be blessed in reading them.
– Support: This ministry has been fully funded by your generous support of love offerings. This is no small thing. Thank you. Every meal we had together, his and Sherry’s prayer included blessing those who supported the ministry. Any giving to Celebrating His Life Ministries will be given to Sherry Thomas through Harvest Christian Fellowhsip. Please click HERE to give online. Click We are grateful.