The late Bishop Alexis A. Thomas now has a Phoenix park bearing his name. In his last official act as mayor of Phoenix, Greg Stanton renamed Aya Mini Park near 20th Street and Roeser Road as Bishop Alexis A. Thomas Park.
Thomas died unexpectedly in January 2018 at the age of 50. The Phoenix native was the senior pastor of the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church. It was a position he held since he was 16 years old.
At the age of 7, Thomas was licensed to be a gospel preacher.
Under Thomas' leadership, the Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church grew from 250 to over 4,000 members, according to the church's website.
Thomas grew up in South Phoenix and regularly told stories in his sermons about the time he spent at the little park near his home.
Mayor Stanton, who built a close relationship with Thomas before and during his term as Phoenix mayor, says naming the park after Thomas is appropriate for a man who loved his community.
[RELATED: Phoenix bishop Alexis Thomas dies at 50]
“If you knew Bishop Thomas, he used to kind of make it a joking line," he said. "He would remind people that he was from the neighborhood. He grew up in very humble beginnings and he has always said he grew up at 18th Street and Chipman, right around the corner from the mini-park.”
Park signs bearing Thomas’ name were unveiled at a special dedication at Thomas’ Phoenix church and at the South Phoenix park.
[MAP: Bishop Alexis A. Thomas Park]
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