facebook script

Can't find something?

We're here to help.

Send us an email at:

[email protected]

and we'll get back with you as soon as possible.

Remembering James and Joyce Thomas

The Michigan Conference celebrates the lives of two faithful servants.


Members of The Michigan Conference were deeply saddened on Thursday, May 31 at the announcement by Bishop Bard that long-time members of The Detroit Conference, James and Joyce Thomas, were involved in an auto accident just days before attending Annual Conference. Both died of their injuries, Joyce at the scene and James later in hospital.

Retired since 2000, the Thomases ( both 85) were residents of Maple Creek retirement home in Grand Rapids. They are survived by three children Gregory Thomas (Huntsville AL), Heidi Deck (Vancouver, Canada) and the Rev. Bryan Schneider-Thomas (Kent City), who pastors Peace Lutheran Church in Sparta, MI.

James was in ministry for 60 years as a pastor and Christian educator in the Evangelical United Brethren and United Methodist churches. He served congregations in Indiana, and Ohio before transferring to the Detroit Conference in 1972. Michigan appointments include Farmington Hills: Nardin Park and Orchard, Grand Blanc, Saginaw: First, and Swartz Creek UMCs. Joyce, a school teacher, was certified in Christian Education and consecrated a diaconal minister in 1989. She served the Methodist Children’s Home Society, Davison UMC and Saginaw General Hospital.

The funeral will be at 4:30 pm on Thursday, June 7 at Peace Lutheran Church with visitation from 3:30-4:30; a reception at the church immediately follows. The family requests memorial gifts be given to either the James F. and Joyce A. Thomas Scholarship Fund at Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary, 2121 Sheridan Road, Evanston, IL  60201 or to the Endowment Fund at Peace Lutheran Church in Sparta, 1225 12 Mile Road NW, Sparta MI 49345.

Creative, loving and committed … James and Joyce Thomas will be fondly remembered across The Michigan Conference.

Last Updated on January 12, 2023

The Michigan Conference