Introducing the Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas
The vestry is thrilled to announce that we have hired a new rector: the Rev. Elaine Ellis Thomas,
who will arrive at the beginning of February.
Pastor Elaine most recently was associate rector at St. Paul’s Memorial Church in
Charlottesville, VA, where she served for just over three years. Enthusiastic about liturgy and
music, formation for all ages, stewardship, young adult ministry, and more, Pastor Elaine struck
us as the right person to help All Saints move forward. In her first interview with the search
committee, she said she liked a church with a lot of moving parts.
During her tenure at St. Paul’s she led the parish after the unexpected departure of a rector
shortly after she arrived. She guided the congregation during the transition, the first four months
on her own, and subsequently with an interim who delegated oversight of day-to-day operations
to her. With an emphasis on social justice, Pastor Elaine has been especially engaged in issues
such as racial inequality. She was on the front lines of the movement to resist the white
supremacist rallies in Charlottesville this past summer.
Pastor Elaine is a graduate of Yale Divinity School, where she earned a Master of Divinity (Yale)
and Diploma in Anglican Studies (Berkeley Divinity School). During her time in New Haven, she
engaged in significant study in reconciliation ministry in Coventry, England and Cape Town,
Along with her liturgical know-how, sermon-writing talents, spirituality, and experience in hospice
care, she brings a strong managerial background. Prior to her career as an Episcopal priest,
she worked as an executive at a faith-based nonprofit organization in Philadelphia, and she also
is an accomplished musician, having served as an organist and choir director. She has a
bachelor’s degree in organizational management from Eastern University. A native of North
Carolina, Rev. Thomas also has lived in Tennessee, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Virginia, and
was a seminary intern at Trinity Wall Street.
She is married to Tim Thomas, a management and leadership-development consultant, and has
a grown daughter, Rachel, who lives outside of Philadelphia with her husband, Dave, and
assorted pets. Elaine’s son, Seth, died by suicide in 2009 while a theater student at NYU. His
death has led to a particular concern for the mentally ill and for young adults as they try to
navigate life in a challenging world.
Pastor Elaine enjoys music, travel, sports, and digging in the dirt, and is always open to good
food and conversation.
Yours in Christ