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Black History Month – Pastor E. Thurman Walker

Written by on February 12, 2019

Pastor E. Thurman Walker in one of a long line of influential clergymen in San Antonio.  The dynamic religious and community leader was a coalition builder and pastor of Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.  During his tenure Dr. Walker helped triple the membership of his congregation. Walker had the unique ability to identify the wants and needs of every member of his flock.  However Pastor Walker believed that the divine purpose of the church was to influence and empower the community. He created the Antioch Community Transformation Network to provide services and resources for and traditionally underserved community. He always teaches the congregation, and I quote: “If the church is doing nothing to serve and minister to the community then we might as well lock up the doors, close down and go home!”

Walker united local black churches, built interfaith bridges and expanded his church’s reach through partnerships with businesses and political leaders. He tripled the budget and of Antioch, and he founded the Antioch Christian Academy,  and Community Churches for Social Action, a coalition of East Side churches that gave them a larger voice as a group. He also worked behind the scenes in business and politics. Through Walkers leadership preserved the historic St. Phillips College by winning the battle against a City Bond that would have all but gutted the once all black institution.  By the time Walker was done meeting with civic and political leaders, the bond was repurposed to renovate and expand St Phillips.

Walker’s biggest legacy can be found in the youth of San Antonio who were touched by Youth United Against Drugs and Gangs (YUADAG).  Once a youth pastor Walker would meet teens on their terms in order to get a first hand account of issues important to them. It was feed back from the eastside youth that led to the construction of the state of the art Antioch Sports Complex.  The facility has become a health and exercise refuge for the young and old alike.

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