Our Mission & Vision

“Equipping the Saints for the Work of Ministry” is the mission of RIPC. It comes from Ephesians 4:9 found in the New Testament of the Bible. Here Paul writes about God’s gifts to everyday sinner-saints like us, those gathering together who seek to follow Jesus.

Ministry to others is our reason for being. The sacraments and rites of our church help us center and consecrate our lives. The fellowship of a loving community enables us to build one another up as we confess our sins, forgive one another, and share our gifts, our joys and our sorrows in mutual affection. We reach out to our community, inviting others to share our vision of our church and to covenant with us in its work and worship.

As members of the church, we commit to continued growth as followers of
Jesus, to loving and serving one another and the world beyond the church
doors, and to building up the whole Body of Christ so that the Kingdom of
God might be evident here and now.

Leadership Team

The Leadership Team consists of our Pastor, the Rev. Dr. Thomas H. Priest, Jr., and our Session (our governing board of elected and ordained Elders who serve staggered three-year terms). Our passion and goal as the Bible directs is to equip believers for the work of ministry to build up the church until we all attain maturity in the fullness of Christ.

Pastor Tom

The Reverend Doctor Thomas H. Priest, Jr. answered the call to begin serving as Pastor at Roanoke Island Presbyterian Church on February 1, 2020. He is an Ordained Teaching Elder, Minister of Word and Sacrament, Presbyterian Church (USA), and a member of New Hope Presbytery in North Carolina.

Tom was born in Fort Bliss, El Paso, Texas, the oldest of seven (7) brothers and sisters. He grew up as a military dependent of an Army soldier which gave him an opportunity to travel the world. Tom showed early on an ability to adapt to challenging and diverse situations.

He received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from Howard University in Washington, D.C. and his M.S. in Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. After many years working in the automobile industry, he heard the call to a second professional career in the church. Tom earned his Master of Divinity from Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Detroit, Michigan, where he also received his Doctor of Ministry.

Tom has held a variety of leadership positions in both business and the church. He is a past Moderator of the Presbytery of Detroit and served previously as Chair of its Coordinating Cabinet, Co-Chair of the Presbytery of Detroit Anti-Racism and Reconciliation Team, Chair of the Metropolitan Urban Initiative Team and President of the Michigan Chapter of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus. Tom is the current President of the National Black Presbyterian Caucus and Chair of the Racial Equity Advocacy Committee of the PC(USA).

Tom is a Life Member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He enjoys playing golf in his spare time. His passion, however, rests with serving the Lord and witnessing to how we are called to live together in God’s Beloved Community.

Tom is the husband of Margaret and the father of Missale C. Priest and Mrs. Kehrie P. Willis, father-in-law of Jeremiah, and grandfather of Jamir.


Members of the 2019 RIPC Session include: Clerk Dave Guiley and Cara Sumner (class of 2020) ),Treasurer Nancy Griffin and Patti Devos, Sean Owen and Melissa Warner (class of 2019).  Because New Officer Training was delayed as a result of calling our new Pastor and meeting the challenges of COVID-19, the 2019 Session agreed to continue serving through the middle of 2020, allowing time for the new elders to be trained, examined, ordained and installed. Elected by the congregation in January 2019, they are Dan Devos, Ken Dyar, Reid Gilreath, and Ann Ward.