Emil M. Thomas

Pastor of Palo Alto, California’s Jerusalem Baptist Church

Emil Thomas is the Pastor of Palo Alto, California’s Jerusalem Baptist Church, where he has served for 17 years during two tenures. Under his stewardship the congregation built a new sanctuary in the design of an African Tribal Meeting House, and innovated programs like R.I.S.E. Men’s Ministry and the Spirituality and Black Identity Project.

He has also pastored Zion Baptist Church of Washington, D.C. and Destiny Church of Waldorf, Md. for 10 years each. From 1994-2014 he designed Rites of Passage programs for Black Teens (L.I.O.N.S. and S.H.E.B.A. ministries) which took youth to Ghana, West Africa as part of their Manhood and Womanhood Training.

Pastor Thomas is the co-author of “Preaching for Black Self-Esteem”with Dr. Henry H. Mitchell. His weekly column “Keeping It Real”was featured in the San Francisco Sun Reporterfor almost a decade, providing issue analysis and social commentary during the George W. Bush and Obama presidencies.

Pastor Thomas was educated at Dallas’ Bishop College, Manhattan’s Union Theological Seminary, and earned his Doctor of Ministry from New Jersey’s Princeton Theological Seminary.

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