Charlie Thomas, Industrial System Sales

What is your faith background? I was baptized and confirmed at St. Luke Presbyterian Church, a progressive, socially and politically active church in Wayzata.  My parents are still very active members and I attend a few services a year with them. When I got married, I transferred my membership to Mount Calvary Lutheran Church in Excelsior, where both my daughters were baptized. After my divorce, I transferred to St. Philip and my daughter Lucy and I have been very happy here ever since.

What is your professional background and experience? For more than 20 years now, I have worked for a manufacturer’s representative in Minnetonka selling steam, air, and hot water products and systems to the industrial markets of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and North and South Dakota. I really enjoy both the work I do and the people I work for and with. My customers are great, and I totally enjoy the problem solving work I do. Though we make money selling products and solutions, I believe we are really a service organization.

How are you involved at St. Philip the Deacon? I attend the 9:45 services on Sunday and have sung in the choir. I am one of the House Group leaders for Jeremy’s Senior High ministry. Our remarkable House Group is entering their third year together and calls themselves the “APHG” (Advanced Placement House Group) because they go above and beyond. They are so awesome! We meet every Sunday (yes, every Sunday, including holidays) taking off only for the summer. I’ve been a chaperone on one of Amanda’s Colorado trip with the Confirmands, as well as many trips and outings with Jeremy and the High School students.

What is something that you love about St. Philip the Deacon? I love all the different programs and ways for people to develop a sense of community. It’s a big church, yes, but I’ve been able to be a part of smaller groups that are each more intimate and develop closeness. I know the pastors and other leaders are just a phone call or email away. With thousands of members it would seem easy to get lost in the fray. I have experienced quite the opposite.

Have you ever been surprised by God? If so, how? I have certainly had my breath taken away by the beauty of God’s creation: an awe-inspiring sunrise; a relaxing sunset after a hard day’s work; watching my daughters each take their first breath, inhaling God’s spirit for the first time; the smile of appreciation and a firm handshake of thanks after service work is done. Was I surprised? I wouldn’t say that’s accurate, but I do experience God’s grace often.

If you could meet God face-to-face, what would you want to ask? I think I would say thank you. I’m not sure I have any question the answer to which would change me fundamentally. I guess my other answer would be that I see God every day in my family, friends, nature, and the good of others.

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