BY MARK GOODSON — Colin Thorne, former Reverend for the First Baptist Church of Hyattsville (FBCH) died on Saturday, Feb. 6. He ministered there from 1992 until 2008. Reverend Thorne was also active with the Hyattsville Hills Daycare, which operates out of FBCH’s building. Former City of Hyattsville Councilmember Douglas Dudrow wrote on a local listserv about Thorne’s creative engagement of the daycare children.
“He always opened up the different activities at the daycare with a prayer.” Dudrow wrote, “He was well-known for his chef hat on Thanksgiving when the daycare would have the Thanksgiving program. … He would carve the turkey for everyone at the front of the table.”
Thorne also engaged the youth outside of church walls. He coached a youth soccer team at Magruder Park. FBCH member Carlton Bassey explained how hurt Thorne was when a doctor ordered him to discontinue his coaching for health reasons. “It really hurt him. He loved working with the kids.”
Bassey credited Thorne for inspiring him to become a Deacon at FBCH, a position he still holds today. Thorne administered a test to new members to gauge where their skills could best help the church. This test helped guide Bassey and other members to active engagement in the church and local community.
Thorne was also active with the elderly. According to Dudrow, “[He] assisted me with helping many of the seniors in the community. He also prayed over many community and church members when they were on their deathbeds. …Many times local funeral homes called Colin to do funerals when the family didn’t know a minister to call and the funeral directors knew of Colin’s compassion for people in that situation.”
Carol Funkhouser knew Thorne for 25 years. “When I retired, he would call me every week and check on me and see how I was doing and if I was enjoying my retirement,” she said, adding, “Colin was a trusting and easy person to talk to. I went to him for support on many things.”
Pastor Todd Thomason, who replaced Thorne, was inspired by Thorne’s ability to reach out to the community. Thomason said Thorne sought members from Friendship Arms and attracted a lot of new residents to worship. “He was much more open to people of all walks of life to attend the church. That is something that I think highly of him in his pastoral perspective. That’s one of the things that attracted me to the church,” said Thomason. Thomason remembers Thorne’s description of Hyattsville as an area that was changing, and that the church should be a place that is welcoming to that change.
Thorne’s compassionate ministry may be best summarized by Shirley Spragan. Spragan first joined FBCH when Thorne’s predecessor Reverend Tom Rogers was Pastor. Spragan knew Thorne and his family for the duration of his time at FBCH and now serves as a church Deacon. “He always accepted people as they were, not complained about who they should be,” she said. Spragan remembers how often she overheard Thorne with his hand on someone’s shoulder saying, “We’re going to do everything we can to help you.”
Reverend Colin Thorne’s memorial service was held on Sunday, Feb. 14, at the First Baptist Church of Crofton.