About the Senior Pastor
Reverend Terrance L. Thomas has the knowledge of Black culture coupled with the anointing of God that places him in the forefront of modern ministry. As a native from the Southside of Chicago, Rev. Thomas knows the Bible and he knows the block. The love he has for the people and his commitment to preaching God’s Word makes him a voice to harken to.
Find Solace in the Sacred Embrace of God's Grace.
In 2017, during the 136th Session of the Chicago Annual Conference, Rev. Terrance was ordained an Itinerant Deacon and appointed Pastor of the Unity Temple AME Church by Rt. Rev. Bishop John F. White, Presiding Prelate of the 4th Episcopal District.
During his first year of pastoring, Rev. Thomas introduced new and exciting forms of ministry to the Unity Temple congregation such as web and phone-based bible studies, a Women’s History Month sermon series dedicated to the life and legacy of Ancestor Mary Mcleod Bethune and Holy Saturday: A Service of Lament.
In 2019, during the 137th Session of the Chicago Annual Conference, Rev. Thomas was elected and ordained an Itinerant Elder, was transferred to the Illinois Conference of the 4th Episcopal District and appointed Pastor of Bethel AME Church in Champaign, IL.
While at Bethel, Rev. Thomas led the church through the COVID-19 pandemic and the civil unrest of 2020, developed a faith-based mentoring session “Entitled Why Not Us?” and is currently the president of the Ministerial Alliance for that area.
In 2021, Pastor Thomas became the Executive Director of the Building Community Life Center, a faith-based non-profit created by Bethel AME Champaign in 2012.
His other community and civic responsibilities in the Champaign-Urbana area includes but has not limited to formerly working as a hospital chaplain with Carle Health System, currently sitting on the board of directors for the Champaign Country Christian Health Center, the CU Trauma and Resiliency organization, and the H3 collective, as well as being the current President of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity Inc, Epsilon Mu Sigma Chapter.
In 2023, he was awarded the MLK Outstanding achievement award by the Champaign County MLK commission for community leaders who embodied the spirit of Dr. King and his work. In the same year, Rev. Thomas was selected to be a John Lewis Fellow with the Faith and Institute Center. Rev.
.Prior to his official ministry appointments, Rev. Thomas served as a founding member of the Social Justice Initiative at Philander Smith College under the tutelage of Dr. Joseph L. Jones. His involvement at the Annual Black Studies Conference in conjunction with the Black Studies Department at Olive Harvey College led Rev. Thomas to convene and work closely with his intellectual father, Mr. Armstead Allen, and other elite black scholars, thinkers, and social activists.
This community work gives him an inside experience into academia and culture. With an undergraduate degree in Inner City Studies with a minor in Sociology from Northeastern Illinois University (2007) and a Master of Divinity from Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary with concentration in African American Church Leadership (2017). Currently, Rev. Thomas is pursuing his Doctor of Ministry in Pastoral and Community Leadership at Payne Theological Seminary and a John Lewis Fellow with the Faith and Politics Institute.
Rev. Thomas is proud to provide Spiritual Care, cultural development, and political education to those under his care, both in the physical temple and the community, as they journey through the various seasons of life. In his spare time, Rev. Thomas enjoys theater, jazz, the sultry soul sound of 70’s music, video games, political discourse with a sip of whiskey, baseball, professional wrestling, and community service projects. Rev. Thomas is engaged to the lovely Rev. Elexis F. Wilson, the father to 5 beautiful children; and he lives by the quote Zora Neale Hurston when she says “if you aint got it, you can’t show it. If you do got it, you can’t hide it.”