Bishop Leofric W. Thomas, Sr., is a native of Jacksonville, FL. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Music Education from Florida Memorial University of Miami, Florida and a Master of Divinity degree from Virginia Union University School of Theology, Richmond, Virginia.
Bishop Thomas served as Assistant Minister of Music to Bishop Bruce Allen while at the Abyssinia Baptist Church of Jacksonville, Florida, under the leadership of the Late Bishop Tom Diamond. He also served as Minister of Music at the Trinity Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia. Bishop Thomas has led three congregations as under-shepherd: Metropolitan Baptist Church, Petersburg, Virginia 1991-1995; Emanuel Missionary Baptist Church, Jacksonville, Florida 1995-1999; and Open Arms Christian Fellowship, Jacksonville, Florida, where he is presently pastor and founder.
Bishop Thomas has guided the Open Arms Church for the past eighteen years, growing to become a vibrant ministry in the community, city, state, and nation. Starting with 33 persons, Open Arms has grown to well over 2000 members being developed as disciples of the Lord Jesus Christ. He has led the congregation in purchasing property and erecting their 1,000 seat worship facility which they occupied in December 2009.
In July of 2015, Bishop Neil C. Ellis, Presiding Prelate of the