by Lorie Lewis Ham
On May 29 KRL celebrates our 5th anniversary! One of the things we are doing to celebrate is to introduce a few of our staff writers to all of you! Some you have already gotten to know as they are also mystery authors and have been interviewed here–but many you have not, other than what you have learned through what they write for us. First off we are interviewing Tom Sims, who has been writing for us for a few years and has two columns-Strolling the Town and Healthy Eating in the Valley.
KRL: Where were you born and raised?
Tom: I was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia. My mother is still living and thriving there at the age of 87. I did my undergraduate work at Bluefield College and Virginia Tech and began my pastoral ministry in Southwest Virginia in the mid 1970s. In 1979, Andrea and I moved to the Bay Area of California.
KRL: When did you move to the Fresno area if not raised here?
Tom: We moved to Fresno in 1996.
Tom: I am a pastor and mission director as well as a CBO (community benefit organization) director. I have dabbled in many things, but I am primarily a pastor.
KRL: Had you ever done any writing before KRL?
Tom: Yes. I have been writing all my life. For about 20 years, I have had a writing assignment with the Master Sunday Bulletin Club for which I produce at least 52 devotional articles per year. I have written for other publications, speeches, poetry, stories, and a few privately published books. I have been blogging for years and have posted over 1000 entries in various blogs. I write extensively in social media and am followed by close t0 3500 people on Facebook and over 4000 people on Twitter. Occasionally, someone reads what I write.
KRL: What kinds of things have you written for KRL?
Tom: Healthy eating, community events, local businesses, and community benefit organizations have been my primary “beat.”
KRL: Tell us a little about your current columns?
Tom: I am currently writing a column called “Strolling” where I sort of “follow my nose” in downtown Fresno, the Tower District, or Old Town Clovis until something strikes my imagination and I write about it. The other column is “Healthy Eating in the Valley,” where I am primarily looking for ways that I can eat better and passing on the information.
KRL: I know you are involved in a lot of other things–can you share them with us?
Tom: Many things. I have been Interim Director of Missions for Mid Valley Southern Baptist Association of about 70 churches. I pastor the anchor church, Fellowship of Joy, of a community of churches that meets at 4141 Ministries, which is a faith-based, Christian CBO focused on building communities, collaborative, and congregations. I sit on too many committees, boards, task forces, and groups.
I do life coaching. I am a Toastmaster. I have been very involved with FIRM (Fresno Interdenominational Refugee Ministries). I am involved in several causes around justice and community improvement. I manage two forums on CompuServe where I have been doing community management since 1992. I teach and conduct workshops. Make speeches whenever possible, and develop websites and social media strategies for non-profits and small businesses when asked. I have done volunteer chaplaincy, but have recently had to cut back on that.
KRL: Goodness! Family?
Tom: I have been married 39 years as of last September, have two grown sons, and three grandchildren, ages 7, 9, and 14.
Tom: Other than my work? Yes. Social media is both work and hobby. I read on a variety of topics and enjoy scholarship. I don’t have much time for fiction, but I enjoy humor. I enjoy an eclectic mix of music and the arts and I sing when I can. I enjoy growing vegetables and working in my yard.
KRL: Your own blog? Twitter?
Tom: Yes. Both. My blog, Facebook account, and Twitter account, as well as one of my web sites feed into each other so that what shows up on one makes the rounds to all. (Follow Tom on Twitter and you can keep up with all of his writing for KRL! @tomsims
KRL: What do you like best about writing for KRL?
Tom:I like the networking and getting out and meeting people. I like being stretched.
KRL: What are your favorite things to write about?
Tom:My sweet spots are theological, philosophical, and devotional writing.
Check out Tom’s columns here monthly in KRL: kingsriverlife.com/category/tom. Watch for more profiles throughout the summer and some great giveaways the end of this month to celebrate 5 years!