Summary: Personal Testimony
My name is Reginald Levi Walker. Yes, I am a man of God. Born and raised in rural Marion, Alabama, I graduated from American High in Miami Lakes, Florida. In 1986, I was licensed to preach and was later ordained an itinerary elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church. I was educated at an AME college, Shorter College in North Little Rock, Arkansas. I am a third generation preacher.
After a short stay in the United States Army, I relocated to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Tulsa was where I was first introduced to the African Methodist Episcopal Church. My father, Rev. Roosevelt Leon Walker, Jr., and my mother, Janie Mae Marshall had divorced during my youth and my father had relocated to Tulsa after the Civil Rights Era. Although I have always known that I was destined to preach, my father was the one that inspired me to join the AME church. However, I had no concept of the depths of God’s calling on my life.
Although I received some theological education from Jackson Theological Seminary at Shorter College, my true spiritual education is continually being given to me through my walk with God. In 1986, I was given my first appointment to pastor by Bishop F. C. James. Rev. George Edward West was the presiding elder of the Fort Smith district of the AME church. I first meet Rev. West in Tulsa at St. John AME church.
I had been licensed as a deacon and Rev. West needed a pastor for one of the churches on the Fort Smith district. I never quite found out what happened; nevertheless, I was appointed as the pastor of Derrick’s Chapel AME Church outside of Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was here where I met and later married Velda West.
The first week of October 1986 was a very busy week. That Monday, I had moved into the old wood frame church parsonage next to the church. On Tuesday, I met with Presiding Elder West and he hired me as the Assistant Manager at West Apartments. On Wednesday, I traveled back to Tulsa to gather some more things and arrived back to Arkansas just in time for Wednesday night prayer and bible study. On Thursday, after work, I went back to Tulsa one last time for a revival. Then Friday, after work, Rev. and Mrs. West picked me up at the parsonage for the weekly Friday night ritual of High School football. Saturday, Rev. West and I drove across the state of Arkansas to West Memphis for a church meeting and then drove back for church the next day.
That Sunday morning, I arrived to the old white church building a little late and very tired. My first church conference was scheduled for today and I had stayed up late to finished all of my conference reports. By the time I was reaching for the old unpainted wooden door to the white cylinder block church building, I silently shouted to myself, ‘Reggie, you forgot your reports.’
As I rushed back across the green lawn to the church parsonage, the telephone began to ring. I wrestled to open the door and answered the telephone by the fourth ring. ‘Thank you for calling Derrick’s Chapel AME Church. This is Rev. Walker speaking.’