Shawn Thomas installed as pastor of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church

Dr. Shawn E.E. Thomas will be installed as the new senior pastor of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church on Jan. 9, 2022. Photos courtesy of Photos By KC-Kelley Collier Jr.

BY DEXTER MCCREE, Feature Writer

ST. PETERSBURG — Growing up in St. Pete, young Shawn was the typical kid who often found himself in child’s play and youthful mischief. He enjoyed playing sports and hanging out with friends.

Shawn also enjoyed attending church weekly because many of his buddies and schoolmates went to the same church, Galilee Missionary Baptist Church.

Some paths we travel in one stage of our lives have us return to that place again. Such is the case for the all-grown-up Dr. Shawn E.E. Thomas, the newly elected pastor of Galilee Missionary Baptist Church.

Dr. Shawn E.E. Thomas preached his first sermon at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church on Nov. 7. He’s seen here with members of the congregation.

On Jan. 9, 2022, Thomas will take the reins of Galilee, previously guided by his mentor, Rev. Earnest Jones, who pastored the church for 41 years, two years more than Thomas has been alive.

The proverbial torch has been passed.

“He has been here my whole life,” Pastor Thomas related. “He has a great impact on my preaching ministry and taught me how to treat people. I pray that Pastor Jones will be a mentor and father for me as I lead the church that he’s led for so long.”

Thomas has a passion for helping transform the lives of youth and adults alike through ministry and missions that help bring spiritual and social change to the community.

A year ago, he took on the director of ministry position at Mt. Zion Progressive Missionary Baptist Church. Before that, he served seven years as their youth pastor, where he emphasized the necessity of being “spiritually connected, socially conscious, smart, and cultured.” 

“I believe through God that Galilee can be a leader in bringing generations of people from a variety of backgrounds together to make an impact in the lives of the people of this community and city,” said the 39-year-old.

Thomas is an adjunct professor of world religion at St. Petersburg College and serves the State of Florida as a house speaker appointee on the Council for the Social Status of Black Men and Boys. And if that weren’t enough, he’s also a doctorate mentor at United Theological Seminary.

A product of Pinellas County Schools, Thomas went on to receive a master’s degree in divinity from Morehouse School of Religion in Atlanta and a doctorate in ministry from the United Theological Seminary in Dayton, Ohio. He also completed one unit of clinical pastoral education to help develop his abilities to assist individuals holistically.

Thomas is the author of “3 Square Meals; 28 Days to Renewal” and co-authored “3 Square Meals for College Students” with his daughter Kaziyah.

Pastor Thomas is excited about going back home. He is glad that home is a place where he is warmly welcomed back. His prayer is that Galilee stays a healthy and vibrant body of believers who take every opportunity possible to love God and love people.

“It is sort of surreal that the place that I’ve always loved, God has prepared and equipped me to return and serve,” concluded Pastor Thomas.

To reach Dexter McCree, email

In an earlier version, we incorrectly said Dr. Thomas was installed as pastor on Nov. 1. He will be installed next year. 

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