Thom Washington, professionally-trained chemist, songwriter, local gospel artist whose award winning choir has won the Verizon’s How Sweet the Sound Title of “Best Small Choir in Southern California”, and senior pastor of the Long Beach-based, Christian’s Community Center Los Angeles (3CLA) has passed. He was 53.
“It is with immeasurable grief that we announce the passing of our beloved brother, husband, son and friend, Pastor Thom Washington,” a statement from the family began. “Thom was a source of immense light and love to all who knew him. Singer, songwriter, philanthropist, brilliant chemist, you name it. Anything Thom touched turned to gold because he lived freely and courageously.
“It was the honor of his career to release music that inspired the world His forthcoming album, ‘Nevertheless’ will be released soon. He transitioned peacefully, surrounded by his wife, daughter and family…”
Baptized and filled with the Holy Ghost at the age of eight, Washington—the son of retired pastor, Dr. Will T. Washington—had been in church for as long as he could remember. Exhibiting an early love and proficiency in music, Washington was named minister of music at Christian’s Community Center.
Under his leadership CCC’s Cathedral Choir ministered all over Southern California, garnering two awards in the McDonald’s Gospel Fest competitions and in 2008 won the How Sweet the Sound “Best Small Choir in Southern California” title. The choir when on to appear on the Channel 4 News as Fred Roggins’ Weather Choir.
In 1996, Washington married his soul mate, Stephanie Henderson and the couple was blessed with a daughter, Kennedi.
In 2007, he was installed as youth pastor at CCC of Los Angeles and years later—with his Dad’s retirement—took over as senior pastor.
In 2017, Washington was diagnosed with stage 4 color cancer and underwent chemotherapy to treat it.
“I spread the gospel in those chemo sessions,” Washington told L.A. Focus two years ago. “I was praying for people in that room. A guy that I prayed for who had bladder cancer was also healed. We were having church, talking about the word, praying for other patients. My message was telling people you have got to hold on to your faith, so it was like a mission. I was supposed to be there.
“I saw God’s hand everywhere I was. He kept speaking to me and I’m so glad I was listening.”
In 2019, Washington was told he was cancer free and returned to growing the church and his music.
Earlier this year, Washington was gearing up for the release of his latest music project, when it was discovered that the cancer had returned. Ironically, the title of his lead single was “Breathe”.
A Celebration of Life is scheduled for Saturday, October 30th at 10AM at 3CLA Ministries, 3960 E. Gilman Street in Long Beach. It will also be streamed live on Facebook and YouTube @3CLAministries.