Greetings to all at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in the name of Jesus Christ!

I believe you all have heard a little bit about me already. You may have heard my name is Jason Thornton, and I have a wife named Tammy–but little else. So to help fill in the blanks (and allay any rumors!), I thought I would give you all a short bio to serve as a kind of conversation starter. 

First–although my father's side of the family does come from Tennessee, I am not related to Billy Bob Thornton (as far as I know anyway). I was born and raised in California and graduated from California State University at Sacramento in 1996 with a BS in Biology. I worked over eleven years as a research scientist in the field of molecular biology at companies such as Calgene (Monsanto), LSBC, and the University of California at Davis. During this time however, my real work was as a single parent raising my son Jorren. Tammy was born in Phoenix, Arizona and (lucky for me) ended up living in Davis, California where we met in 2002. Tammy and I were married in 2003 and along with her two sons, Bryan and Jonathan, we have made one big and happy family.

In 2007 I felt God calling me into the life of pastoral ministry. With Tammy's encouragement, I applied to Duke Divinity School to pursue a Master's of Divinity–and was accepted. In June of 2007 Tammy, our three sons, two dogs, and I moved from the small Northern California town of Woodland (pop. 53,690) to the small North Carolina town of Stem (pop. 229). While earning my MDiv at Duke, God blessed me with an appointment as the pastor of both Stem and Bullocks United Methodist churches. After graduating from Duke in December of 2010 God's blessings continued with an appointment to serve as a full-time local licensed pastor at Bethel and Gray Rock United Methodist churches in the North Carolina Annual Conference.       

In 2014, Tammy and I began to feel called to return to the west to be closer to my mother and 99-year-old grandfather, who had been struggling after the deaths of my father and brother. God answered our prayers with an appointment at Epworth United Methodist Church in Fallon Nevada.

During our seven years of ministry in North Carolina and three years at Epworth, each of our sons have grown up and moved out to start their own lives. Jorren has found roots in Durham, North Carolina where he works as a salesperson for a medical equipment company. Bryan found his way back to California to marry his jr. high youth group sweetheart Megan. He now holds a management position at a coffee house near the capitol. After a year away from home working for Americorp, Jonathan has been busily attending college while living at home.

And now, as you all know, Tammy and I have been blessed with a new appointment at St. Paul's United Methodist Church here in Manteca California! We have seen that St. Paul's is truly being the hands and feet of Jesus: feeding the hungry through the Food Pantry; welcoming children through the preschool; teaching the good news through many educational opportunities; welcoming the stranger through radical hospitality; growing the church through extravagant generosity; and bringing people closer to our God every week through passionate worship. Tammy and I are both very excited by the many ministries and missions St. Paul's UMC is providing for its members and the community of Manteca! We feel that God has truly blessed us once again by sending us here.

Of course, these few facts barely scratch the surface of our lives–and probably raise even more questions than they answer–but that's just fine!
The only real way to get to know someone is by talking with them. Hopefully these bits and pieces will serve to start some great conversations, so that you can learn more about us, and so that we can learn the stories of your lives and how God is calling each of you!

The Grace and Peace of Christ to you all,


July 2: Welcoming Christ

By welcoming Christ into out lives, we become transformed through a deep connection with God.  In his first sermon at St. Paul’s, pastor Jason Thornton shares the story of his journey from athiesm into Christianity, and the transformation of his life which occurred after he welcomed Christ.

July 9: Wish Dreams and God Dreams

We all have an ideal version of how we think the church should be, and we often find ourselves being disappointed when the church doesn’t seem to live up to our expectations.  But what would it be like if we accepted the church as God has given it to us?

July 16: Sowing the Seeds of the Kingdom

The Kingdom of God grows from a seed.  Huh?  What?  How can a Kingdom grow from a seed?  Come find out!

July 23: Weeds or Wheat?

A botanical field guide to the Kingdom of Heaven.

July 30: Mustard Seed Faith

Feeling worn down?  Feeling like you don’t have enough faith anymore?  Come find out how just a little tiny bit of faith can grow into an amazing Kingdom!