Rhodes was the son of Reverend and Mrs. Rhodes Thompson, Sr., who was the pastor of our church from 1932 until 1959. He grew up in parsonages and witnessing the strong leadership and love his father had for being a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
He grew up principled and convicted that God loved all people. His ministry was a forceful witness to his faith in and love of Jesus Christ.
Bob Thompson was Rhodes’ brother. They were separated by only two years.
When Rhodes began accepting calls from churches he always accepted the ones from struggling inner city churches where his ministry could be known among the poor and oppressed. He regularly refused raises when they were offered by his congregation.
While I am pleased that we have a working relationship with Seventh Street and Prodigals House, Rhodes worked on racial reconciliation in the 1940’s. There were pictures to prove it in the local paper.
Rhodes loved this congregation with a passion. He kept up with us, read our newsletter and would, on occasion, write a letter to us affirming some aspect of what we were doing.
He was a tireless advocate for social justice and racial equality. He marched, held signs and spoke publicly. But mostly he just lived it in his daily life.
Rhodes wrote about Christian stewardship and even published a book about it. Before I knew anything about First Christian in Paris, I knew about Rhodes Thompson.
On a minister’s salary, he and his wife paid for the materials for several Habitat for Humanity houses. That was in the very early days of Habitat for Humanity.
Until recent years, Rhodes had a memory unlike most people I know. He could tell you dates and places and about events which happened long ago.
I am so pleased he joined us on our 175th anniversary and spoke about his life in ministry.
Rhodes could squeeze a penny until it begged for mercy.
One incredible story is when he put his family, including three children and all their “luggage” in a Volkswagen bug and drove from Florida to California with a stop in Kentucky. The kids sat on folded clothing in the back seat.
I honor and remember this great man of faith, who was shaped and inspired to serve his Savior selflessly and who advocated and worked for those who needed him most.
Our prayers and love are extended to his family, especially Bob and Edna Thompson, his brother and sister-in-law.
Moving to the deeper places,