Rev. Sandra Thigpen was born in Louisville, Kentucky and was relocated to Chicago, Illinois at the age of two. She made a profession of Jesus Christ, at the age of twelve, and became a member of the Hill Street Baptist Church in Louisville, Kentucky while visiting her grandparents. She is the mother of one child, Brian Christopher Thigpen, two beautiful girls, Cristina and Cassandra and great-grandmother to four; Kendrick, Chandler, Chloe and Clare.
In 1991, Rev. Thigpen became the first female Chaplain to serve in an adult male correctional facility in the state of North Carolina. She served as an Associate Chaplain at Forsyth Jail and Prison Ministries seven years and Assistant Senior Chaplain for three years. Her work involved ministry in three facilities – the Forsyth County Law Enforcement Detention Center, The Forsyth Correctional Center (Cherry Street Prison) and Forsyth Juvenile Detention Center.
Additionally, Rev. Thigpen served as Chaplain at the North Carolina Baptist Hospital while completing studies in Clinical Pastoral Education. She was a licensed Clinical Social Worker 18 years with the Kentucky School System; Clinical Social Worker with the Jefferson County Government; Coordinator of Prison Fellowship Ministries; Community Liaison for the Kentucky Department of Corrections – Eddyville State Penitentiary and Associate Chaplain for the Kentucky Correctional Institute for Women.
Rev. Thigpen has worked with the homeless, advocated for rape relief victims and has been the facilitator for Family Leadership Training; Women’s Issues; Life Skills Development; Spiritual Renewal and Spiritual Retreats with the N.C. Baptist Hospital, numerous denominations as well as the Moravian Churches of the Southern Province and Caribbean.
In 1997, she was awarded the National Women of Achievement Award for Religion. Reverend Thigpen was 1999 Keynote Speaker for the International Moravian Women’s Conference and the Millenium Speaker for the Virgin Islands Moravian Women’s Fellowship Conference in September of 2000. She was involved in Short-term missions to Africa where she trained Missions Teams, preached and taught Biblical Stewardship in 2001 & 2002. She traveled to the Holy Land in 2006 to enhance training by learning more about the land of Jesus’ birth and ministry. Rev. Thigpen became the first African American Woman to the Pastorate in the Moravian Church in America. She served as Pastor to St. Philips Moravian Church, the oldest African- American Church yet standing in Winston-Salem, North Carolina for three years and Pastor of Grace Moravian Church, Queens, New York. When asked for biographical data, she responds, “Just tell them that I am a servant of God, everything else is unimportant.”