Rev. Thomas to retire after more than 46 years of ministry
Reverend Richard Thomas is retiring from the pulpit after more than 46 years of ministry. He has been the minister in 18 United Methodist churches in Ohio, six UM churches in Indiana, and two Presbyterian churches in Missouri. He has served the past 13 years at the Tunnel-Warren Chapel Charge of the United Methodist Church. At his recent retirement reception, he was presented with a memory quilt crafted by the Sew and Sew group. The quilt blocks are embroidered with the names of the churches and charges that he has served.
Pastor Richard was born in Logan, Ohio. His father worked for the railroad, which instilled in him a life-long fascination with trains. His mother and relatives were always very active in church, and he has followed in their footsteps. He is a graduate of Vinton County High School. He was an Education major at Ohio University when a District Superintendent called him to preach at Putnam Chapel UMC in Vinton County. Thus, ministry became his career instead of teaching. He became an Ordained Deacon in 1973 and graduated from Louisville Presbyterian Seminary in 1976. He became an Ordained Elder in 1977.
When he was the pastor at Long Bottom UMC, he met his wife, Bonnie Welsh, the Music Director. They have musical talent in common, as Pastor Richard is an accomplished pianist. This skill was appreciated by the Praise Ensemble at Tunnel UMC, where he led them in Sunday morning services and at various community worship services. His musical abilities will also serve him well as he moves into the next phase of his life as the Music Minister at St. Mark’s UMC in Belpre, pastored by Rev. David Hubbard.
Pastor Richard has a love of books, with a collection of 8,000 volumes. He enjoys being a Trustee on the Washington County Public Library Board. He also serves on the Western Washington County Food Pantry Board.
On June 30, Reverend Rick and Delores Stuhmer will begin serving the Tunnel UMC-Warren Chapel UMC Charge. Tunnel UMC is located at Ohio Route 550 and Coffman Road; Sunday service begins at 9 a.m. and the GPS Contemporary service begins at 11:15 a.m. Warren Chapel UMC is located at 2205 Warren Chapel Rd.; Sunday service begins at 10:30 a.m.