By Darlene L. Williams | Contributing Writer

(BAKERSFIELD, CALIF.)— Jerusalem Mission Community Church hosted it’s 50th Founders Day celebrating the legacy and 88th birthday of Founding Pastor, Dr. Freddie L. Thomas Sr.  The celebratory event was held on Sunday, August 7, 2022 at 3:00 p.m. 

100 degree weather did little to deter well-wishers, friends, and family from joining the up-lifting celebration.

An estimated one-hundred fifty well-wishers, family, and friends gathered at Jerusalem Mission Community Church to join the parishioners in celebrating the contributions, legacy, and leadership of Dr. Thomas (a.k.a., Pastor Freddie).

Various awards and certificates were presented to “charter members” who had been members of the church since its beginning 56-years ago.  Several parishioners of Jerusalem Mission Church were also given awards of recognition for their contributions to the church and community.

“Don’t forget the people that helped you get where you are”, Thomas said, as he stood to give remarks and to acknowledge those in attendance.   

 ShePower CEO and Founder, Arleana Waller, reminisced about the longstanding friendship and community partnership she continues to have with Dr. Thomas. She shared childhood memories of a long-term loving relationship between Dr. Thomas and her late parents. 

 His love and dedication for the community earned him the NAACP President’s Award, said, NAACP President Patrick Jackson as he expressed gratitude and appreciation for a man well-loved by his church and community.  

Mayor Karen Goh, along with several Kern County elected officials were in attendance to pay tribute to Thomas

“We are here to acknowledge God’s wonderful works” Mayor Goh said, as she presented an award to Thomas recognizing his “effort to transition lives”.  She also presented awards to Pastor Thomas on behalf of Senators Shannon Grove and Vince Fong, who could not attend the celebration. 

U.S. Congressman David Valadao’s’ office presented Thomas with a certificate of recognition and a flag from the U.S. capital. 

Following the three-hour celebration, a catered birthday dinner followed in the church Fellowship Hall.

 Dr. Thomas is a respected Pastor and retired CEO of T& T Building Construction and has supported and contributed to the erection of many church buildings throughout Northern and Southern California. Jerusalem Mission Church was founded in 1964, “in a little house across the street” from the present church, said, Dr. Dorothy Thomas (Wife, First Lady). 

Lady Thomas expressed her heart-felt appreciation for the outpouring of love and support they received from the community. “We celebrated him while he is still alive”, she said. 

Bakersfield News Observer coverage of local news in Kern County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support community newspapers across California.