Tom has recently completed a song cycle: “Witnesses”: glimpses of Jesus as seen through the eyes of His contemporaries.
These songs are rooted in the New Testament, definitively recognizing Jesus as the Son of God while also drawing on imagination. What was it like to be an apostle in the boat during the storm? A bystander when Jesus heals a leper? One of the people who picked up a stone to hurl at the adulterous woman?
The songs are woven together with Scripture passages and narrative, to inspire, uplift, and connect our lives to His timeless one. Tom’s medium is folk music—one guitar and one voice--and he has spent a lifetime honing his skills. This medium seems particularly suitable for Jesus our Savior, who was the humble son of a carpenter and an itinerant preacher.
If you are interested in having Tom provide this concert for your congregation, he would be happy to visit one of your church services and play a song or two, as an introduction to his music.
Here are two videos from the concert.
Tom Renaud committed his life to Jesus at a Catholic high school retreat when he was sixteen years old. Each boy received a “Good News” Bible, and he began to read it regularly. At about the same time, he started playing the guitar. His faith and his music have been with him ever since.
Over time, Tom felt a calling toward some form of ministry. In college years he did a lot of exploring, but never found the right place. Eventually, he decided to go into teaching, in special education. He’d begun working with the physically disabled, and enjoyed it. It seemed that would be his life’s work.
Then, on a long hitchhiking trip, Tom discovered a monastic community—young, vibrant, creative. He’d never considered monastic life in any form, but step by step Christ led him there. After a few years of alternating between extended retreats and teaching, he left everything behind and became a monk in 1982.
It was a life of prayer for the world and solitude. There were several monasteries, all of which Tom lived in over time. Each place was also a retreat center. Over the years, he met hundreds of people and gave spiritual counsel to many. In 1991, he was ordained to the priesthood. He began to travel outside the monastery, preaching at parish retreats and conferences. Always he took his music. Over the years, he and his friends made several recordings of his original songs.
Tom’s community began to go through a crisis time, which peaked in 2003. In 2005 he took a year’s leave of absence, which then became permanent. He returned to California and took up teaching again. He was released from monastic vows and from the priesthood. In 2008 he married his wife Lee, and helped to raise her son Evan, now a young man in the Air Force. Upon retirement in December 2018, Tom and Lee moved to Florida.
At this new beginning, Tom looks forward to a using his music and other skills to proclaim the goodness of God, the reality of Jesus Christ alive and with us. He is a member of New Hope Baptist Church in Englewood, and is interested in reaching out to all Christian churches.