By Riley Manning/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The Rev. Richard Walker will be ordained as a vice assistant bishop in the All Nations Ministries International Church on Sunday. The Tupelo native has three years under his belt as a pastor, but his involvement in the ministry dates back to the 1970s, handing out food to needy members of the community.
“I had this old rusty two-legged grill, and I would cook hot dogs and take them to people,” he said. “When I was in school and then out in the world, I had dealings with guys on the street, people who had been looked over and pushed to the side. I saw a great need that had to be met.”
Walker said from the beginning he hoped to nourish the stomach as well as the soul. His hot dogs came with a small devotion to let people know if they were tired of the way they were living, Jesus could put them right.
Walker soon began asking local grocers for donations and was met with such supply that he could take his service to all corners of the community, from underpasses to the backwoods, from trailer parks to the housing projects.
“It’s not fair to say ‘it’s bad at this place,’ because it’s bad everywhere. The ministry should be accessible to everyone and have the attitude that just because a person has a problem doesn’t make them a bad person,” he said.
Though Walker makes it sound easy, he said the outreach ministry is not glamorous.
“Don’t count on having much money,” he said. “It’s a tough fight, something is always trying to hinder you, but never give up. The Lord has the final word.”
Walker realized his call to the pulpit in 2010 before suffering a stroke in the same year. Back on his feet, he has become the pastor of the nondenominational City of Refuge church in Tupelo.
A service will be held at noon Sunday at the City of Refuge church to honor Walker’s consecration as vice assistant bishop. The service will be conducted by Regional Bishop Leonard Howell, and the public is welcome to attend.