By Bonnie Adams, Managing Editor
Region – As the guest speaker at the Dec. 10 Corridor Nine/495 Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Business Forward Females luncheon held at Cyprian Keyes in Boylston, the Rev. Liz Walker joked that she was sure many in the audience had no idea who she was. But by a show of hands the majority of over 100 women in attendance proved that they did indeed know who Walker was. And by the end of her speech, judging by the three standing ovations, it seemed that everyone in the room was now also a fan.
Prior to becoming joining the Roxbury Presbyterian Church, first as a transitional leader and then becoming its pastor in 2014, Walker was one of the most well-known women in New England. Together with Jack Williams, she co-anchored WBZ-TV channel 4’s nightly news, garnering numerous accolades and awards along the way.
When she decided to change the direction of her life, leave TV news and pursue a calling in ministry, her colleagues were surprised, she said. But for Walker, a minister’s daughter from Little Rock, Ark., it just another step in her life’s journey.
A trip to South Sudan in 2001 in particular was life changing, she noted.
Traveling with the Rev. Gloria White-Hammond, M.D., Walker first was part of a group investigating allegations of slavery. She returned a number of times over the next 11 years.
Ostensibly she went there to bring medical supplies and help build a school but what she gained was more important.
“People there live with a dignity and grace that you don’t often see [in the United States],” she said. “They are invested in relationships and helping each other.”
“We went there to save the world but the world saved us,” she added.
With encouragement from White-Hammond, Walker pursued a degree from Harvard Divinity School, earning in 2005 a master’s degree focusing on religion and women’s issues.
As pastor of Roxbury Presbyterian Church, she sees the effects of trauma and as such, tries to emphasize the importance of “coming together…the notion of grace.”
In a world that is often very fragmented, it’s important, she noted, to remember that it’s “not us versus them. It’s all of us. And where we invest our energy, purpose and heart, that counts too.”
“It’s about giving a little something extra to your neighbor whether you know them or not,” she said. “The definition of grace is giving someone a break – letting them in.”
For more information on BFF visit www.corridornine.org.