For the past 15 years, Wynness Thomas has been homebound, battling daily pain from arthritis of the spine and Parkinson’s disease. But this former church pianist and choir member at Tilly Swamp Baptist Church hasn’t let her age or ailments rob her of her love of music.
Thomas, 87, is now living out a dream she’s carried in her heart for decades — to have one of her songs published in a hymnal.
LifeWay Christian Resources recently published Thomas’ hymn, “Praise to Thee, Blessed Trinity” on its digital hymnbook resource, LifeWayWorship.com. The song lyric follows the classic tune of the Doxology and features lines declaring praise to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
“To the best of my knowledge, Mrs. Thomas is now the oldest-living composer featured on LifeWayWorship.com,” said Mike Harland, director of LifeWay Worship. “She’s a special lady. I’m glad we were able to publish her beautiful lyric.”
Thomas’ love for music and writing harkens back to her childhood. She was born in 1931 in Dillon County, S.C. As a child growing up with four adult siblings and no other children in the home, Thomas began playing piano and writing stories to help pass the time and fight loneliness.
Friends say Thomas’ early years were also shaped by her involvement at Piney Grove Baptist Church near Lake View and in the Woman’s Missionary Union.
“Going to church was the high point of my week,” Thomas wrote in an entry on her church’s website. “[It] helped me become the person who loves Jesus that I am today.”
Thomas later went on to become a pianist for First Baptist Church, Myrtle Beach, S.C., where she also taught Sunday School, directed the junior choir and sang in the adult choir. In 1984, she and her husband, Fred — who is now 94 and acts as her primary caregiver — moved to Conway, where they joined Tilly Swamp Baptist Church. They’ve remained members there to this day.
“Mrs. Wynness has a passion for the lost in her family, her community, and the world,” said Scott Altman, pastor of Tilly Swamp Baptist Church. “She’s also a woman of prayer and praise. She desires for people to be submissive to the leading of the Holy Spirit without hesitation.”
Throughout the years, Thomas never gave up on her desire to write and publish. She authored “The Grand Strand Coloring Book” to teach children about South Carolina beaches and wrote Fruits of the Circuit Riding Missionaries, a publication that traces the history of 60 churches of the Waccamaw Baptist Association.
She also contributed to LifeWay publications including Mature Living, Open Windows and The Church Musician. But she never forgot about her dream of one day seeing her name attached to a published hymn.
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Source: Baptist Press