Alliance Theological Seminary

Kelvin Walker | On Saying “Yes” to His “Firsts”

February 28, 2022

Rev. Kelvin Walker. Seventh child of Sarah Burch Walker and Rev. Oscar Walker has been a “first” in many things. In all these things and more, he continues to give God his “Yes!”

Nyack College (’88 BSM) and ATS alumnus (’11 MPS). Husband. Father. Grandfather. Licensed C&MA worker since 1988. Ordained by the C&MA 1990. Nyack College 2013 Alumnus of the Year. Worship leader. C&MA Corporate Vice President. C&MA Metro District Superintendent.

In “Ode to My Father,” Kelvin Walker gives honor to the one who taught him the importance of his “yes.”

Ode To My Father

Barely able to finish grade school

Yet one of the smartest men God ever made was you

A self-educated preacher

You were still an incredible teacher

And with the friends you taught to read

You were a great example indeed

And, oh, how I wish you were here so I could tell you

Tell you what a gift to the pulpit you were

Theologically sound and also able to cause a stir

A stir that moved the spirits of those

Who were seeking the God who knows

Every hair on our head

Calling to life those who were dead

All through the anointing, passion, and heart

Of a self-taught preacher on mission

With a grade school education

I wish you were here so I could show you

How I’ve navigated ministry

Where being the “first” was my calling

Because, in all the places God took me

I was the first that ever served…

First Black staff pastor in an all-White C&MA church…

First Black full-time Worship Pastor in a racially diverse C&MA Church…

First Black C&MA Campus Pastor at the Rockland Campus of my Alma Mater…

First Black Lead Pastor in the C&MA church I served for six years…

First Black C&MA District Superintendent in a geographic district…

First Black C&MA Corporate Vice President…

And with God’s help, I’ll be

The first in our family

To receive a terminal degree

All in a movement you worried wouldn’t accept me

If you had your way, I would have come back home

A Bapticostal to always be

Yet, after your own investigation, you came to see

That the C&MA was the place I was called to be

And, knowing you approved set me free

I wish you were here, Daddy

I’d tell you it hasn’t been easy

But I learned from you that following God’s call

Is the most fulfilling place to be

And giving Him my yes is what you modeled for me

So when I celebrate Black History

I celebrate the Black man I came to be

All because of God’s grace, your legacy,

And the example you set for me

Daddy, it was you that challenged me

Never to ever be

Afraid of being the first…

So, here I am…

I love you, Oscar Walker

(c) February 21, 2022

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