In October of 2013, St. Thomas celebrated 50 years of faith and service to the community with a special luncheon. Ethyl Yops, a charter member of the congregation gave the following accounting of the church history.

Pastor Herbert Reed and his wife Joan came to the Island in the spring of 1962 and went door to door sharing the good news and inviting families to be part of a new mission church. On Sept. 9, 1962 the first worship service was held at Parklane Elementary School with 19 families and more than 30 children in Sunday School. 

Construction of a new building started in October of 1965 at 9393 Church on 6.5 acres at the corner of Meridian. For the ground breaking ceremony a plow was hooked up to a long rope and about 30 children were lined up to pull the plow through the soil. It didn’t exactly work out the way it was planned. When the children gave a mighty heave on the rope they fell down in the dirt like dominos (of course dressed in their Sunday best…see photos).

When planning the building, the members decided on a high roof with arched beams, unlike the typical flat roofed mission churches in the area. (photos of lifting the beams in place attached). The new building was built with a pointed end like the bow of a ship. On September 11, 1966 the new building was dedicated. Since then we have added 2 additions, each with a smaller bow end to give the impression of a trimaran. (a fitting symbol for our boating/island community and also symbolizing the holy trinity).

After Pastor Reed saw the congregation through its growing pains, he moved on to a new congregation and Pastor Aller was called to serve in March of 1967. After 42 very dedicated years, Pastor Aller retired but remained Pastor Emeritus of St. Thomas while he continued working in Lutheran Churches throughout the downriver area. Pastor Sean Ewbank, our current pastor, was called in June of 2010.

Of the charter members who planned, executed, and moved this congregation forward into the 21st century, three still are with us today; Harvey Nissley, Doris Nissley, and Ethel Yops.  As we look back on the past 50 years, we are humbled by the hard work and dedication of all the individuals who started this congregation and carried it through the past 50 years as a place to worship, be involved, and serve others. Their legacy has given rise to who we are today: real people, real life, real faith.