The Reverend Paul J. Thomas is the new Pastor of Bethel AME Church -Buffalo, NY.
A product of the Philadelphia school system, Reverend Thomas graduated from Central High School and further received a Degree in Human Services from Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. Reverend Thomas also earned a Master of Divinity Degree from Turner Theological Seminary of the Interdenominational Theological Center -Atlanta, GA and a Master of Education Degree in Special Education from Grand Canyon University -Grand Canyon, AZ.
Reverend Thomas answered his call to ministry during his time in college and preached his trial sermon Sunday, August 10, 2003, at Mt. Tabor A.M.E. Church, Philadelphia, PA. The late Reverend Martha A. Lang was the Pastor. He was ordained an Itinerant Elder by Bishop Richard Franklin Norris in May 2009.
While matriculating in graduate school, Reverend Thomas worked under the tutelage of the Reverend Jeffrey B. Cooper and Trinity A.M.E. Church -Atlanta, GA. He has served the congregations of New Hope A.M.E. Church -Haralson, GA, New Bethel A.M.E. Church -Willow Grove, PA, A.M.E. Union Church -Philadelphia, PA, and now Bethel AME Church -Buffalo, NY, a Church founded by persons of color, established 1 year prior the incorporation of the City of Buffalo.
In addition to his pastorate at Bethel, Bishop Gregory G. M. Ingram, also appointed Reverend Thomas the Presiding Elder of the Buffalo – Rochester district of the Western New York Annual Conference. The six churches of this district span Niagara Falls, NY, Buffalo, NY, and Rochester, NY.
In addition to ministry, Reverend Thomas worked as a grade school instructor. Over the course of a decade, He taught with Merakey’s Innovative Education Solutions -Philadelphia, PA and the William Penn School District – Delaware County, PA. He is a member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., where he served as the treasurer of the Abington-Ambler (PA) Alumni Chapter for four years. Reverend Thomas serves on the board of directors for First District Self Help Inc., the Philadelphia, PA based not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing minority group initiatives. Reverend Thomas is the founding president for The Union Community Development Corporation, a service-arm of AME Union Church -Philadelphia, PA. Reverend Thomas is a leader and mentor who advocates relationship building and the empowerment of all people.