August 3, 2011
by Norma B. Dennis
XXAs a youngster, Chris Thore envisioned becoming a pediatrician. His love of children and families seemed well suited for such a career. But midway through college he began to feel God's call to full-time Christian service.
XX“Throughout high school and early college the Lord continued to bring people and situations into my life that allowed me to experience (different types of ministry) firsthand,” said Rev. Thore, a.k.a. Pastor Chris, the new senior minister at Jamestown United Methodist Church. “I realized there are a lot of ways to bring healing to others. Every Christian has a calling to serve. Mine became more and more apparent to go into the ministry.
XX“I was fortunate to be part of a Christian family and to be raised in church. Looking back I see that God was preparing me for ministry my entire life.”
XXAfter graduating from Southern Pines High School in North Carolina, Thore moved to South Carolina with his family, where he received an associate's degree from North Greenville University and a bachelor's degree from the University of South Carolina Upstate. While working toward a master's degree at Emory University in Atlanta, Thore worked as a youth pastor, and it was there he met Rebecca, his future wife.
XXHaving joined the Western North Carolina Conference of the United Methodist Church, Thore was appointed to Lowes United Methodist Church outside Reidsville following his graduation. While serving that church, he and Rebecca married.
XX“I moved a sweet city girl to the country, so I knew she really loved me,” Thore said with a chuckle.
XXThe Thores' three children were born while the couple was serving his second appointment at Tyro United Methodist Church in the West Davidson community. Thore joking acknowledged that as one way to grow a church.
XXAs with most United Methodist ministers, Thore has held many appointments throughout the Western North Carolina Conference. At each he has placed much emphasis on youth and family ministries.
XX“That has always been important to me,” he said.
XXThore also noted that he loved communicating the gospel and does so through lots of stories.
XX“I believe it is a sin for Christians to be bored,” he explained. “They are supposed to be alive.”
XXOne of Thore's most memorable experiences was surviving the two-and-a-half-foot blizzard of 1995 while serving at Franklin First United Methodist Church in Franklin, N.C. The church was on the same grid as the hospital so was one of the first locations to have power restored after the storm.
XX“We opened the church as an emergency shelter,” he said. “It was a real joy to minister to others and a great Christian survival experience.”
XXDuring Thore's previous appointments, he feels blessed to have seen the hand of God at work in all that was accomplished - from the establishment of new programs to the physical growth of facilities.
XXHe comes to JUMC from Clemmons United Methodist Church in Clemmons. This is his eighth appointment and he looks forward to getting to know the congregation and community.
XX“I already feel a connection to the area,” Thore said.
XXWhile serving at Central United Methodist Church in Asheboro, Thore's children attended Asheboro High School, one of Ragsdale High School's archrivals. His other links to Jamestown, however, are more positive.
XX“I have been friends with three previous pastors including Gary Royals, who started ministry about the same time I did. My aunt and uncle, Joy and Glenn Deck, were residents of Jamestown for 35 years and attended JUMC before they moved. After my dad, Bill Thore, retired he worked for Billy Ragsdale as general manager of Oakdale Cotton Mills for several years. I already know some of the people in the area and am enjoying meeting new ones.”
XXDuring the month Thore has been at JUMC, he has focused on getting to know the leaders and members of the church.
XX“In the coming months, I look forward to discerning ways to grow the great ministry that is already established at JUMC and seeking further ways to help the community with the love and light of Christ,” Thore said. “I am excited about being in this community and in this church.
XX“Christ is alive and working in the life of JUMC. I invite the community to come and join us. I would love to meet you.”
XXJUMC holds traditional services on Sundays at 8:30 a.m. and 10:55 a.m. It also conducts a contemporary praise and worship service at 8:45 a.m. To learn more about the church, call 454-2717.
Norma B. Dennis can be reached at (336) 841-4933 or firstname.lastname@example.org.