Rev. Dr. Roy L. Thompson dies; served ABHMS when it was National Ministries

VALLEY FORGE, PA (1/13/17)—The Rev. Dr. Roy L. Thompson, 94, who had served American Baptist Home Mission Societies in several capacities when it was known as National Ministries, died Jan. 8 in Cleveland, Ohio.

He had been National Ministries’ director of New Church Development in the Church and Community Development Unit. In addition, he had been interim manager of the Church and Community Development Unit and manager of the Division of Congregational Development.

His other roles included area minister for American Baptist Churches of New Jersey and interim executive minister of the Philadelphia Baptist Association. Before his service with National Ministries, Thompson was an organizer and vice president of a Baptist housing development organization in Brooklyn, N.Y.

He and his wife, Lois Reese, just celebrated their 58th wedding anniversary.

Thompson was born July 9, 1922, in Pineville, Ken., to Quiller and Bertha Thompson. After both parents died, he was raised by his grandmother, Annie, in Marion, Va.

He was ordained at Antioch Baptist Church, Cleveland, in 1958 and served several parishes over the years. He was an organizer and pastor of Manchester (Calif.) Baptist Church and Elementary School and previously served as associate pastor and director of Christian education at Second Baptist Church. In addition, he was pastor at Bethesda Baptist Church, New Rochelle, N.Y. In 1991, he retired from active ministry and served as minister-at-large with transitioning churches in Holmesburg, Pa.; St. Paul, Minn.; and Wilmington, Del.

He earned a Doctor of Divinity degree from Christ Church College of the Bible, New York City; Master of Divinity from Colgate Rochester (N.Y.) Crozer Divinity School; and Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from West Virginia State College (WVSC). He served on the executive board of the Philadelphia alumni chapter of WVSC and was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He graduated from Carnegie High School at the age of 15 in 1937.

He entered the military as a private and rose to the rank of captain in the U.S. Army Medical Service Corps. His overseas duty included New Guinea and the Philippines. He taught one semester in WVSC’s ROTC program. At the beginning of the Korean War, he was assigned as company commander of the 480th Transportation Company and the 126th Transportation Battalion.

Throughout his life, Thompson was active in community ministry, Christian education and civil rights. He was an organizer of the Council on Economic Development of Black People and served as its executive director. In 2001, he was recognized for his volunteer service as chaplain to the general board of American Baptist Churches USA.

Survivors: Wife; daughters, Kimberly Ann, and Stacey Lynn; grandchildren, Devon Amanda Davis and James Powell Jr.; two great-grandchildren; brothers-in-law; nieces and nephews; great-nieces and great-nephews; and a great-great niece.

Services: Viewing at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 14, followed by 11 a.m. funeral service and Alpha Phi Alpha service, all at Antioch Baptist Church, 8869 Cedar Ave., Cleveland, Ohio, 44106. Condolences may be sent to 3547 Hildana Road, Shaker Heights, Ohio, 44120.

American Baptist Home Mission Societies partners with American Baptists in answering God’s call to promote Christian faith across the United States and Puerto Rico to cultivate Christ-centered leaders and disciples, and heal and transform communities, by developing aligned action networks and programs.

American Baptist Churches is one of the most diverse Christian denominations today, with more than 5,200 local congregations comprised of 1.3 million members, across the United States and Puerto Rico, all engaged in God’s mission around the world.