Pastor Howard E. Jones, Jr., right, celebrates with Rev. James “Tex” Thomas.

Staff Reports

NASHVILLE, TN — Often one is told to “Bring it on.” Recently, Rev. James “Tex” Thomas did just that — he ‘brung’ it on!

The 80-year old Rev. Thomas left no holds barred as the preached at the 10:45 a.m. service at Fairfield Missionary Baptist Church recognizing the 31st anniversary of Senior Pastor Howard E. Jones, Jr.

Rev. Thomas, known affectionately as “Tex” Thomas and the “Mayor of Jefferson Street”, is the Pastor Emeritus of St.

Pastor Jones, right, with Mary Davis, chairperson of the Pastor’s Aid Ministry.

James Missionary Baptist Church on Jefferson Street in North Nashville, where he served more than 40 years before retiring December 31, 2016. According to Thomas, “Now the world is my pulpit.”

He spoke from the focus of a “Pastor Trying to Stay Faithful during Stormy Times” from the Book of Mark 34:35:  While the disciples were in the boat fishing, they had no catch. When Jesus called them to come to the other side, they were reluctant.  Still they followed his instructions and were successful with a great catch.

Rev. Thomas used that passage to illustrate, “How is it that Jesus can call you and you don’t know who called you?” Some folks can say they are saved and don’t know who saved them he said, and continued, “Some folks would rather have grits than grace.”  

He concluded that Pastor Jones is a leader who stands strong in the storm. “He prays, works hard for the community and stands tough for the people.”  He added Pastor Jones has been a stalwart at Fairfield Church and in the community for many years.  

Pastor Thomas also touched on another important issue. “I am proud of Black Lives Matter because this group is a product of my work.  Every time I hear of them doing something, I say, ’Keep going!’”  As a strong voice in the community and avid protestor, Pastor Thomas has been in many altercations and stood strong for the voiceless people, just as Black Lives Matter is doing now.

Rev. Dr. Walter L. Grant of Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church preached at the 8 a.m. service and reflected on how active Pastor Jones is as a community servant.  Grant said, “Pastor Jones is everywhere — in the paper and the pulpit, in the school and the community, in the board room and in the street.”  Pastor Jones was lauded with praise, gifts, and love, the Fairfield way.  Associate Pastor Rev. Sondrea Tolbert described him this way: “One with the towel and basin unto God.”  

The anniversary program was sponsored by the Pastor’s Aid Ministry with the theme “A Servant of the Lord.”.  Mary Davis, chair of the organization, said, “This year’s celebration was COVID-19 style with limited access and focus on social distancing and wearing masks, yet our love for our pastor is greater than ever.”