Jane Elizabeth Gray Thomas is the eldest of four offspring of the late James Anderson Gray and Emily Mydell Gray. She is a native of Savannah, Chatham County, Georgia. She is the mother of Mrs. Nicole Renee Jenkins of Statesboro, Georgia and Mr. Andre DeCarlos of Sharon, Massachusetts. She is also the grandmother of Marquel DeCarlos, Jewel Elizabeth Lorraine, Lil Leonard, and Savannah Rose.
Jane received her formative years of education at Frank W. Spencer Elementary School and graduated from Solomon Charles High School in 1969. She matriculated at Fort Valley State University, majoring in early Childhood Education. She is a member of Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society, Kappa Delta Epsilon Honorary Professional Fraternity and a recipient of The United States Achievement National Collegiate Leadership Award.
She has served in the world of work in many capacities and on various levels. She has been employed as a supervisor, manager, teacher, insurance agent and financial planner. Even as a college student, she continued her career at Fort Valley State University. Upon re-entering college in 1998, she assisted the university in developing the Residential Life Housing Fire safety Guidelines, served as a Student Representative for Student Affairs, a Member of African World Studies Institute Film Festival and a default manager for financial aid. She was instrumental in carrying out these duties as a non traditional student while building a very successful and demanding ministry.
Jane Elizabeth answered the “Call of God” and was licensed as a local preacher in the Christian Methodist Church on June 16, 1984. She was ordained a Deacon in 1986 and an Elder in 1988. As a pastor, she has faithfully served the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church for 21 years. She has served various churches throughout the Central and West Georgia Regions. She has served in Savannah, Jeffersonville, Marshallville, and Cordele, Georgia. Her ministry has also reached and touched the hearts of the communities in which she served. She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority,Inc., the founder of Girl Scout Troop 850.
As a pastor, she was not only a faithful servant to her congregation but, throughout the community. Pastor Thomas has faithfully and untiringly served the Fort Valley/ Savannah District, South Columbus/Cordele District and Sixth-Episcopal District of the Christian Methodist Church. She served as secretary of the West Georgia Region Board of Ministerial Examination, member of the South Columbus/Cordele District Board of Christian Education and chair of the Sixth-Episcopal District Business Committee. She served as a General Conference delegate (1986, 2002 and 2006). In July 2006, she served as a council member to the World Methodist Council and a delegate to the World Methodist Conference in Seoul, Korea.
All of these faithful and loyal services were merely physical markers and spiritual stepping stones laid by God’s own hand to prepare His servant for the awesome task before her. On July 28, 2006, Pastor Jane Elizabeth Gray Thomas made history when she was named the first female Presiding Elder of the Sixth Episcopal District and the state of Georgia. This was just a crescendo of a mighty work that God had already ordained. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. Unto Him be glory in the church by Jesus Christ throughout all ages, world without end." (Eph.2:10. 3:21).
Currently, Presiding Elder Jane E. Thomas is a volunteer in the Newton County School System, supporter of the Rainbow Community Center in Porterdale, Georgia and the Middle Georgia Community Youth League, Lizella, Georgia. She serves as the Sixth Episcopal District representative and chaplin on the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church Commission on the Concerns of Women in Ministry. Presiding Elder Thomas is also a student at the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) pursing a dual Masters of Arts in Christian Education and Masters of Divinity.