The Rev. Dr. Arnold Isidore Thomas was called as Pastor of Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Jericho, Vermont, on January 1, 2017. Prior to this, Rev. Thomas served as Interim Senior Pastor of Charlotte Congregational Church in Charlotte, Vermont. He returned to the state after being away for ten years, servings as Minister for Education, Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations at the Riverside Church in New York City and Adjunct Professor of Religion at New York Theological Seminary; and then as Senior Minister to Wilton Congregational Church in Wilton, Connecticut.
Rev. Thomas has served a variety of ministries, including Pastor of the First Congregational Church (now Faith United Church of Christ) in Little Rock, Arkansas; Chaplain and member of the faculty of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut; Pastor of First Congregational Church in Williamstown, Massachusetts; and Conference Minister of the Vermont Conference of the United Church of Christ, the first African American denominational leader in Vermont.
He was also President of the Criminal Justice Ministry of Arkansas; Co-founder and Vice President of the Arkansas Conference of Churches and Synagogues; Co-founder and President of the Human Rights and Relations Task Force of Northern Berkshire County, where he was the recipient of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Peacemaker Award; President of the Vermont Ecumenical Council; Co-founder of Toastmasters of Riverside Church, Harlem (TORCH), which in two years had risen to become the premiere Toastmaster chapter for the development of communication and public speaking skills in New York City; and Co-founder of the Center for the Study of Science and Religion at Riverside, a cooperative program of the Riverside Church and Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Science and Religion. He is Co-founder of the Network for Human Understanding, an interfaith effort to build sustainable, empowering communities in every economic environment; and has initiated Riverside Church’s first new church start in cooperation with the church’s Korean Christian Fellowship.
Before pursuing a career in ministry, Rev. Thomas seriously considered becoming an actor having won several awards as a youth in humorous and dramatic interpretation and, as a young adult (during his first pastorate), playing lead roles at the Arkansas Repertory Theater in Little Rock, Arkansas. He is a lyricist whose words have been published as hymns.
Dr. Thomas received his B.A. in Religious Studies and Philosophy from Hiram College, his Master of Divinity from Yale University, receiving the Wolcott Calkins Award for excellence in preaching, and his Doctorate in Ministry from Hartford Seminary. He and his wife, Victoria Anne Short, live in Underhill, Vermont and are the parents of three adult children: Rev. Devon Lee Julian Thomas, Ethan Eliot Thomas, and Adria Anne Thomas.
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