|Photo by Miss M|
The Weekly-FactorFebruary 22, 2005
by Bubba Blissit
Johnny Walker stood in the pulpit where he has been for most of the services at First Baptist Church, Winona, Mississippi, for over 14 years. What he was about to tell his congregation, most had known for some time, yet no one wanted to hear it. Parkinson’s Disease had progressed to the point that he would not be able to continue what the Lord had called him to do over 40 years ago. At the end of February, he would no longer be a pastor.
Many eyes filled with tears, mine too. The “guy thing” wouldn’t let me get in line with wet eyes to shake his hand. So I bit my lip, took my wife’s arm, and walked quietly to our car. The “Why?” question popped in my mind several times that afternoon. Part of being a human, I guess.
Brother Johnny is a terrific preacher. He can deliver a sermon with the best of them. He could have used First Baptist Winona as a stepping stone on his way to a church with thousands of members, not hundreds. But he didn’t He gave his all for this church for 14 1/2 years because that was what he wanted to do.
Brother Johnny’s ministry extends past the corner of Church and Summit Streets. He is there for everyone in this community. His warmth and kindness, his message of Christ’s Love have meant so much to so many. From his early morning radio devotional, to visitations late in the evening, he has worked tirelessly, and for the last few years bearing the cross of illness.
More on the Cross here— though how the intersection of 55 & 82 is the “center of Winona” is a fine question. Good for you for asking!
WINONA, Miss. – (WCBI) The symbol for Christianity will soon stand tall in the center of Winona.
After eight years of planning, the site at the intersection of Hwy 82 and I-55 in Winona is finally under construction.