My dearly beloved brothers and sisters, I am grateful to God for the high privilege which has been mine to serve as your pastor for the past forty years. The years seem to have flown by so, that now I wonder where have all the years gone? I am grateful to my parents, Reverend Charles Walker and Mercedes Walker; my pastor, reverend N. C. Lunford and the Christian workers in my home church, The Providence Baptist Church in Chicago, Illinois for their role in molding me into the Christian that God willed me to be. The wisdom and strength of Pastor Lunford influenced my life from childhood into my adult years. His example of humility and faithfulness to the Lord Jesus Christ is still an influence in my life and brings encouragement to me in moments of decision. I am grateful and indebted to Reverend Clay Evans, my father in the ministry, and the Fellowship Baptist Church for their invaluable contributions to my growth in Christ and in the ministry as pastor. Pastor Evans has been a father, a counselor, a confidant and an invaluable source of guidance as I tried to serve the people of God. Fellowship gave me the privilege of serving as organist for several years in which I had the wonderful experience of recording with an internationally famous pastor and choir. It also afforded me an opportunity to be used of the Lord to train many up and coming church musicians. I am grateful to the members of the Nineteenth Street Missionary Baptist Church, both past and present for your acceptance of me as your leader, and your willingness to follow the leadership of one who himself constantly struggled to discover Godâ€™s will and to follow it faithfully, regardless of the consequences. Your belief in me and your willingness to accept with compassion my weaknesses and faltering attempts to lead has been a source of comfort in moments of doubts and anxiety. Your words of encouragement, and your many expressions of love and affection when days were dark, have been bedrocks of strength during difficult times.
Our history is an honorable one indeed. From the nascent days of Reverend Summerville to the present Nineteenth Street has existed in the community for more than 100 years. During the last forty years some of the nation’s greatest preachers, artists and political leaders have graced this pulpit. Some of these personages have been: Dr. Benjamin Mays, Dr. Howard Thurman, Dr. Martin Luther King, Sr. , Dr. Gardner C. Taylor, Dr. Charles Boddie, Dr. Henry Mitchell, Bishop Ernest Hickman, Bishop O.T. Jones, Bishop R.T. Jones, Dr. William J. Harvey, III, Dr. Fred Shuttlesworth, Dr. D.E. King, Dr. Clay Evans, Dr. N.C. Lunford, Dr. Murphy Greer, Dr. William L. Banks, Dr. W. H. R. Powell, Dr. T.J. Jemison, Dr. Cecilia Nabritt Adkins, to name a few. We have been privileged to experience the artistry of Booker Rowe, the first African-American violinist of the Philadelphia Orchestra; Joy Simpson, operatic soprano; Armenta Adams-Hummings, concert pianist; Betty Jackson-King, composer; James East. Composer; DeVonne Gardner, operatic soprano and Nina Kennedy, concert pianist, as well as Thomas Dorsey, the Father of Gospel Music. We have been blessed by the Reverend W. Wilson Goode, the first AfricanAmerican mayor of this great city and community activist, Reverend Jessie Jackson, President of the Rainbow P.U.S.H. Coalition. One shining event in our history was the commissioning of the first foreign missionary out of our fellowship. Deaconess Sandi McFadden, a former Black Panther, served in Liberia, West Africa and in Swaziland. I see a bright future for this church; perhaps not in the eyes of the world, nor by the standards of the world. I see a bright future for us in the eyes of God. God honors faithfulness – faithfulness to the revealed word of God… Faithfulness to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ… Faithfulness to the mandates of the gospel... Faithfulness to each other in love. “By this will all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another”, John 13:35. With Jesus’ love,
I was talking to someone I grew up with who was a member of 19th Street. She was sharing about my parents’ influence on the young people at 19th Street. She said, “Pierre, to a lot of us Rev. Walker was the only Dad we had and your Mom was our example of what a strong Christian woman should be.” Our Mom, Sylvia Walker, left a proper legacy. It’s evident in many of the women who were young girls at 19th Street when she was with us. I can see it when I look at my own daughter, and niece. I can even see it when I wake up in the morning and look in the mirror (smile). I can see it when I see a strong black woman.
The Reverend Charles Walker
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Rev. Charles Walker Anniversary/ Retirement Booklet - 19th Street Baptist Church