By Carla Thomas
The Pastoral Retirement for Revered Eddie C. Thomas and First Lady Brenda Thomas was held on Sunday, March 26 at Open Bible Baptist Church (OBBC) in East Palo Alto.
With a theme derived from “A Steadfast Servant – I Corinthians 15:58,” the celebration recognized the couples’ 16 years of leadership at OBBC. The new leaders of the church, Pastor Karon L. Braxton and First Lady Sonja Braxton presided over the festivities and Vice Moderator Bishop Dr. Cleveland Prince of True Light Missionary Baptist Church served as master of ceremonies.
“We love the Thomases. They have been a tremendous blessing to us,” said Pastor Braxton.
OBBC soloists Deaconess Felicia Turner and Merdana Champion honored the Thomases with songs as did multiple choirs: OBBC Choir, Mt. Olive Baptist Church choir, and Unity Baptist Church choir.
Pastor Reginald Easterling of New Hope Baptist Church in Union City moderated expressions that included those of the Thomases’ daughter Cassandra Wooten; granddaughter Maya Wooten; daughter-in-law Carla Thomas; and grandson Gabriel Thomas. Keynote speaker Pastor Andrew Green preached on the power of God.
“I really appreciate and love my grandparents – they are the best ever,” said Gabriel Thomas.
“My grandparents are my inspiration and I plan to become a criminal justice attorney and practice law like my grandfather,” said Wooten.
The OBBC Youth Department presented gifts to the pastor and his wife. The department recalled how Pastor Thomas gave them a generous donation of $1000 as soon as he and his family arrived at OBBC.
Iglesia Bautista del Valle Pastor Jaime Diaz, whose congregation has leased service space from OBBC for over 10 years, also spoke of Thomases’ generosity and support through the years.
Born in Columbus, Ga., Pastor Eddie Thomas grew up in Palo Alto and attended Jerusalem Baptist Church where he met and married his wife, Brenda Hamm. The Stanford University graduate attended Iowa Law School where he was called into the ministry.
Thomas served as a Sunday School teacher, Sunday School superintendent, director of the Baptist Training Union, moderator of the Bay Area Baptist District Association, and then pastor of Open Bible Baptist Church from 2006 to 2021.
From 1978 through April 2009, he operated as a deputy district attorney in San Mateo County and spent some time as district attorney over the Juvenile Services Division.
Thomas has not only served God, but his country in the United States Marine Corp as a Judge Advocate achieving the rank of captain. He also worked as a substitute teacher for Fremont Unified School District for seven years.
“I want to thank my family, my beautiful wife, and most of all, God, for allowing me to live a life in service for Christ and the community,” said Thomas.
*Carla Tomas is a daughter-in-law of Eddie and Brenda Thomas.
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