Rev. Thomas R. Francisco
Other job experience: Full and parttime positions at churches in Hollywood, Vero Beach, Hobe Sound, Pahokee and Bryant, Fla., for more than 25 years. Insurance industry for 25 years. Office for shipping company. Spanish teacher for five years in Honduras.
Other community posts: Secretary, South AME Conference since 1984.
Education: Bachelor's degree, University of Difusora Panamericana, Tegucigalpa, Honduras. Master's degree in divinity, Trinity Theological Seminary, Newburgh, Indiana. Working on master's degree in theology, Trinity Theological Seminary.
Personal: Age 66. Born in Roatan, Honduras.
Family: Married to Mary. Four grown children, five grandchildren.
How did you get into your vocation?
I was an active lay person in my church in Honduras. I wanted to be a good Christian, but didn't feel the urge to be a pastor at first. I saw the great responsibility the pastor had, and I didn't want to be bogged down in that. A pastor in Riviera Beach saw something in me and allowed me to preach at his church, then invited me to attend an AME conference. I decided to go to seminary and follow God's call.
Favorite part of your work?
I think I'm a good administrator, which is important, but what I really enjoy is people. I visit and pray for the sick at homes and hospitals. I do a lot of pastoral care. I also love to preach.
Being constantly on the go and not having enough time for myself and my family. It's also hard to bury the dead and be with families going through that ordeal.
Favorite vacation spot?
We go once a year to Honduras, where we have a home, and visit family. But I'd love to go more often and go fishing there and just relax. When I retire, I'll spend more time there.
Favorite TV shows?
I only watch sports on TV. I like baseball, boxing and volleyball most.
I'm a big Clint Eastwood fan, so anything with him I like. I like his style of talk, his character.
What person in history would you like most to meet?
I would have loved to meet Martin Luther King, Jr. Malcolm X and the founder of our denomination, Richard Allen. I believe they were men of God who paved the way for men like me. I would love to talk with them and learn how they kept the faith during difficult times.
Your most memorable spiritual experience?
My dad was in a terrible car accident in Honduras. They were taking him to the morgue, pronouncing him dead. I didn't see any life in him, but I asked God to bring him back whole. He lived another 20 years after that. God answers prayers.
What's the most important thing you've ever learned?
Even in seminary training, I learned you can't believe everything you hear. I learned to ask God for wisdom and open my mind up for understanding when I have questions.
Have you ever doubted your faith?
I've had doubts even in my ministry, when the episcopal leaders kept promising me things and kept walking over me. I wondered if this was really what God wanted me to do.
How was that doubt resolved?
I got over the doubt. I saw the same thing happen to other people and realized it wasn't personal, and that God has his own timing and plan for me.
What advice would you give others considering the vocation?
They have to make up their mind that this is not an 8-to-4 job, but a 24-7 job. You must love God more than self and family.
Motto, or favorite scripture verse?
I love the 27th Psalm and especially John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Lisa GoddardCopyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun