CLOVER — For 26 years, Dr. Sam Thompson and his wife, Annie, have been working to nourish both bodies and souls. Members of New Beginnings Baptist Church in Clover, which the couple founded in 1995, will honor them this weekend during a celebration of the couple’s service.
For 26 years, Dr. Sam Thompson and his wife, Annie, have been working to nourish both bodies and souls.
Leaders and members of New Beginnings Baptist Church in Clover, which the couple founded in 1995, plan to honor them this weekend during a celebration of the couple’s ministries.
The church plans a Saturday evening banquet at 6 p.m. at the site of its food ministry, God’s Kitchen, followed by a 4 p.m. Sunday spiritual celebration led by Apostle James Carter of Cornerstone Church of Christ in Thomasville, N.C. Both events are open to the community.
“He has been very faithful in serving the community,” said the Rev. Ricou Williams, an associate pastor at New Beginnings. “The community has seen what he has been doing and has been willing to support him as much as they can.”
Thompson began his spiritual ministry 26 years ago at a Baptist church in Lake Wylie, where he served as pastor for seven years. He left that church in 1995 and founded New Beginnings at the request of several parishioners.
The first church service in 1995, at Clover Chapel United Methodist, attracted 69 people. After a stint in a warehouse on U.S. 321 South, the church bought property on Old U.S. 321 where it has grown its ministries.
Today, the church’s God’s Kitchen — which began with two humble pots of soup — delivers hot meals to about 150 people five days a week, while its Lighthouse shelter houses up to a dozen homeless men and women. The church also has a thrift store to raise money, and assists with counseling and job placement.
Thompson overcame lifelong challenges in his quest to help others. His mother died when he was a few weeks old and he didn’t meet his father until he was in his 30s. He was raised by his grandmother, who inspired his faith in God and motivated him to devote his life to helping others.
Thompson’s first wife died of a diabetic coma, and he later married wife Annie, his partner in the ministry for 51 years. He also has had more than a dozen surgeries for hip and knee troubles.
“I’m an example to all of the people that have had troubles and problems in their lives,” Thompson said recently in an interview with the Enquirer-Herald. “I did not let them discourage me.”
Williams said Thompson’s vision has inspired his ministry “to go into the hedges and highways” and find people who need a helping hand.
“He is very warm, very affectionate,” Williams said about Thompson. “He’s pretty much a common man. And he welcomes the opportunity to be able to serve with whatever capacity he has.”