February 28, 2022

Ode to My Father

A poem by Kelvin Walker

Black History Month | 2022

by Kelvin Walker
C&MA corporate vice president and superintendent for the Metropolitan District

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.