by Robert Earl Houston
Updated October 10, 2014 – 7:00 p.m.
COLUMBUS, OHIO – One of Columbus’ senior sages has entered into eternal rest on Tuesday. The Reverend Dr. G. Thomas Turner, pastor of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church went home to be with the Lord on October 7, 2014. He was born on Christmas Day, Friday, December 25, 1936 and passed away at the age of 77.
Dr. Turner was the third pastor of the Friendship church in the 92 year history of the congregation. He pastored there for over 41 years, after being called in September of 1973. His grandparents had served in the church – his grandfather was Deacon John Martin and his grandmother was Sis. Susie Martin, a faithful member of the Missionary Society.
Under his leadership, the congregation experienced tremendous growth, most notable are the souls won to Christ. He led them in erecting a new church edifice in which the Friendship family entered in March of 1984. Just 9 years later, he led the congregation in liquidation of the mortgage.
In 1995, they expanded the church edifice by adding a balcony, an educational wing, enlarged the parking area, and opened the Friendship Christian Learning Center, a daycare center serving the entire community.
Dr. Turner was active in denominational work. He supported the Ohio Baptist General Association, the Lott Carey Foreign Mission Convention, and was a stalwart and one of the original founders of the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America. Under the administration of Dr. Melvin Von Wade’s presidency, the trend-setting Early Morning Prayer Service was created and Dr. Turner was appointed to lead the entire convention in prayer and praise. His model endures to this day and has spread to various national, state and district levels.
During his leadership of that hour, it was not unusual to see people standing in the outer hallways because they could not fit inside of the service. He introduced the Convention to songs that had been forgotten in the modern era with pep and energy. His signature song became, “It Could Have Been The Other Way.”
Dr. Turner was a supporter and former board member of the National Baptist Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress and during the Parade Day it was not unusual to see him dressed in all white with a matching straw hat.
Most of all he was a worshipper. He was bapticostal before the name became popular. He was old school but he was a praiser and a dancer before the Lord. A very strong theologian and yet in the hallway he had a wry sense of humor. Many of us remember him walking away from a discussion, waving his hands and saying, “shoot . . .” He didn’t just go to a convention and hang out. He was in every session and encouraging others to do so as well. He was beloved in the National Missionary Baptist Convention of America.
He leaves to mourn his homegoing his beloved wife, Dr. Robert Turner, his son, George, Jr. and his daughter, Patrice.
STATEMENT FROM THE FRIENDSHIP MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH:
We regret to inform you that Pastor G. Thomas Turner, Sr., B Th., L.H.D., D.D., the esteemed pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church for 41 years, passed away this morning.
Pastor Turner was a spiritual icon recognized globally for his dedicated work in the ministry of Jesus Christ.
Arrangements are pending. Please continue to pray for his wife Dr. Roberta Turner, their son George, Jr., their daughter, Dr. Patrice Turner, grandson, Seth and the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church family.
For further information, please contact Marcia Brown, Church Secretary at 614-279-0008, fax # 614-279-0424, email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
FRIENDSHIP MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
1775 West Broad Street
Columbus, Ohio 43223
Moody Dubenion, Chairman, Deacon Board
Preston Stearns, Chairman, Trustee Board
Dr. Turner’s own words speak volumes: Click Here (from his church website).
SERVICES WILL BE HELD ON FRIDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2014 AT 11:45 A.M.
AT FRIENDSHIP MISSIONARY BAPTIST CHURCH
1775 WEST BROAD STREET
EULOGIST: DR. CHARLES E. BOOTH, MOUNT OLIVET BAPTIST CHURCH
NEWLY UPDATED INFORMATION
Dr. G. Thomas Turner, Sr., pastor of the Friendship Baptist Church
Born: December 25, 1936
Died: October 8, 2014
Note regarding service: Remains will be in sanctuary and no public viewing is planned.
Pastor G. Thomas Turner, Sr., age 77, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio, passed on Wednesday, October 8, 2014 at Mount Carmel East Hospital. He was born in Columbus, Ohio on December 25, 1936. He received his formal education from the Columbus Public School System and was a graduate of the East High School January class of 1955. During his high school years, he was a member of the track team and held records in the mile relay and 880 relay where the team won District and City championships. Pastor Turner earned his Bachelor of Theology degree from Virginia Seminary and College in Lynchburg, Virginia; an Honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from Baltimore College of the Bible, Baltimore, Maryland; and an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Virginia Seminary. Also, he attended Capital University, Columbus, Ohio and Shenandoah Bible College, Roanoke, Virginia. He was a former President and Board Member of Isabelle Ridgeway Nursing Center; an instructor in the National Sunday School and Baptist Training Union Congress; Board Member of the Lott Carey Foreign Missions Convention; a former Moderator of the Eastern Union Missionary Baptist Association and Auxiliaries, Inc.; a former Member of the Board of Directors of the R.H. Boyd Corporation and National Baptist Publishing Board; a founding member of The Brothers of the Common Life where he was referred to as “Dean”; and he was inducted into the Martin Luther King, Jr. Board of Preachers of Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia in February 1992. His pastoral experiences included: Macedonia Baptist Church, Cambridge, Ohio; Ebenezer Baptist Church, Kingston, Virginia; Mount Shiloh Baptist Church, Monroe, Virginia; First Baptist Church, Hollins, Virginia; and Maple Street Baptist Church, Roanoke, Virginia. His last pastorate was the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, Columbus, Ohio for 41 years. Pastor Turner was an avid sports fan and financial supporter of The Ohio State University Athletics Program. He was also a fan of the Cleveland Browns, the Boston Celtics, and the New York Yankees. Pastor Turner is survived by his loving and devoted wife of almost 53 years, Roberta F. Turner, Ph.D.; son, George T. Turner, Jr.; daughter, Patrice E. Turner, Ed.D.; grandson, Seth; sister, Martha (Richard) Harmon; niece,Trina (John) Branham; nephew, Gary (Tracy) Harmon; many cousins; “special” children: Pat Dawkins and the Rev. Dr. Alyn (Dr. Ellyn) Waller; and the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church family.
YOUR COMMENTS ARE WELCOMED.