“Did I offer peace today? Did I bring a smile to someone’s face? Did I say words of healing? Did I let go of my anger and resentment? Did I forgive? Did I love? These are the real questions. I must trust that the little bit of love that I sow now will bear many fruits, here in this world and the life to come.” Henri Nouwen link
The arrest of Pastor Harry Thomas is receiving national attention. Time Magazine and other national news sources are covering the situation.
The Creation Festival and the arrest of Pastor Dr. Harry Thomas
This is one more sad story of sexual abuse by a pastor from Pennsylvania. The 74 year old pastor in question was well known for being the pastor his church and the founder of the Creation Festival. According to Christianity Today in Creation Festival Founder Arrested for Alleged Child Molestation:
Harry L. Thomas, founder of the Creation Festival and senior pastor of Come Alive New Testament Church in Medford, New Jersey, has been accused of sexually assaulting four children over a 16-year period between 1999 and 2015.
The Creation Festival is considered America’s largest Christian music festival. According to Wikipedia:
Creation Festival (officially “Creation Festivals”) consists of two annual, four-day Christian music festivals held in the United States, called Creation Northeast and Creation Northwest. According to its organizers, the festivals have become the “Nation’s Largest Christian Music Festival.”  Average attendance is between 50,000 and 100,000 annually.
Both four-day festivals host more than sixty Christian rock, contemporary, and worship bands. Also featured are Christian speakers and authors, a fringe stage (hosting mostly up-and-coming and/or harder Christian rock bands), children’s stage (kids’ entertainers geared towards smaller children), Late Nite Cafe, camping, petting zoo, baptisms, communion, fireworks, extreme sports, volleyball, giveaways, candlelight service, prayer tent, youth pastor VIP tent, and other experience-based activities.
…Rev. Dr. Harry Thomas, Jr. and Timothy Landis founded Creation East in 1979 in Muddy Run Park in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. After just five years, the festival outgrew Muddy Run Park and had to change venues. In 1984, the Creation Festival was moved to the Agape Campground in Mount Union, Pennsylvania when the Board of Jesus Ministries offered to rent out the area for the festival. This year was also the first year for a festival wide Communion, which has since become a yearly tradition.
…Though Tim Landis has stepped out of his original role, Rev. Dr. Harry Thomas, Jr. continues to be involved, focusing mainly on expanding the ministry of the festival, but has passed on the majority of the producing and booking to Bill Darpino. Thomas still preaches a short message at Creation every year. In December 2017, Thomas was arrested and charged with sexually assaulting minors in Medford Township over a 16-year period.
As an aside, It was interesting to learn that CJ Mahaney spoke a number of times at the Creation Festival and encouraged his church members to attend. In this account, CJ apparently spoke on gossip. CJ really had a thing against gossip and it certainly understandable why that might be.
Come Alive New Testament Church’s website seems to have *gone dead.*
If you visit their website, you will see only a statement about Harry Thomas. The rest of the website is now password protected. Apparently Christianity Today saw the same thing. I think churches who hide everything their church is doing have something to hide. I did not know it was a Christian virtue to scream *Incoming!* and then duck and hide.
The Two Announcements
Look at these two comments and see what they lack.
Creation Festival announcement
Here is a link to Creation 2018 which has posted this message on the home page.
Come Alive New Testament Church announcement link
- He is indefinitely suspended; not fired.
- They do not identify the alleged crime. They should. There could be other victims and it is naive to ignore that.
- Both groups claim that the assaults had nothing to with the church and/or the Creation Festival which is saying “Nothing to see here, folks, move along.”
Why I think there is something odd about Pastor Harry Thomas assault of the unidentified 4 children.
What would you say if I told you that Pastor Harry Thomas defended the parents of a family in the church with 4 kids ages 9-19. EACH of those kids weighed under 50 pounds. He even defended this situation before Congress! I believe this story adds some information about this pastor and his seeming lack of concern for 4 children in his congregation back in 2006.
After a week’s hesitation, the church of the Collingswood couple charged with starving four of their adopted children issued a statement on Friday attacking prosecutors and the state’s child welfare agency, saying they had torn apart a ”totally innocent and loving family.”
…The Rev. Harry Thomas, pastor of the Come Alive New Testament Church in Medford, N.J., which the Jacksons attended, accused the Camden County prosecutor and the New Jersey Division of Youth and Family Services of inflicting the abuse those agencies have accused Mr. and Mrs. Jackson of committing.
”I have never been so outraged in all my 60 years,” Pastor Thomas said in a statement. ”What has been done to this family by the leaks from this prosecutor’s office has caused a totally innocent and loving family to be torn apart.”
…But after interviewing the parents on Friday, the minister declared the Jacksons innocent, accused the prosecutor and the child welfare officials of a rush to judgment, and set up a fund to defend the parents.
In his statement, Pastor Thomas said Mr. Jackson had told him that the children had been given adequate medical attention.
Thomas then testified at a congressional hearing at which he was criticized for trying to downplay the weight of the children. Apparently Pastor Thomas thought that weight was hunky dory. Thankfully, it appears the judge ignored his impassioned pleas and the mother went to jailer seven years and the father died two years later. I wonder what happened to those 4 kids. It isa rather odd coincidence.
Today, I had along talk with a group of folks and a victim of a church leader. We will be writing this story after Christmas. However, my heart hurt badly for the victim after this conversation. Please pray for peace for all who are hurting because church leaders used them. I have played this song at last 10 times today. It is helped.