Published 12:22 pm Thursday, January 22, 2009
Bishop Williams organized church 32 years ago
By MaryClaire Foster
(This week The Atmore Advance visited with 70-year-old Bishop Willie L. Williams at the MLK Jr. Day celebration at Gaines Chapel A.M.E. Church.)
Q: Where do you pastor?
A: At Jones Street Holiness Church.
Q: Do you have any children?
A: I have one daughter, Carla Jean Williams, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren.
Q: How long have you been a minister?
A: I’ve been ministering 41 years and been pastoring 32 years.
Q: Where did you grow up?
A: I grew up over near Swift Mill.
Q: What did you do before you began pastoring?
A: I was a nurse at Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola. I went to Sacred Heart Nursing School.
Q: What made you want to be a minister?
A: It came through the inspiration of God. I organized the church in my living room.
Q: How long has your church been established?
A: We’re going on 33 years.
Q: Where did you attend Divinity School?
A: A branch in Mobile of E.L. White Theological Seminary out of Birmingham.
Q: Why is Martin Luther King Jr. Day important to you?
A: It’s important because we get to experience and are living part of the dream he had.
Q: What do you like best about being a minister?
A: I like helping people. My greatest desire is for everyone to be saved, and I like trying to help them get saved.
Q: What do you remember the most about the civil rights movement and Dr. King’s life?
A: The march from Selma to Montgomery. I didn’t get to go, but I wish I had.
I’ve never been in jail, and at the time it made me nervous, but now I think I would have gone to be at that.
Q: Who do you look up to?
A: In the ministry one of my greatest teachers was the late Elder James McCreary and Bishop James Finley.
Q: Where is your favorite place to travel to?
A: Detroit. I have a very good friend there, and I like going over to Canada.
Q: Where’s somewhere you haven’t gone yet, but would like to go?
A: Miami. I’ve always wanted to go, don’t know why, just have always wanted to. I’m going to try to go this year.
Q: How do you feel about the inauguration tomorrow?
A: It’s kind of like Christmas Eve waiting on toys tomorrow. I’m excited. I wish him well and I hope that everybody receives him and respects him.
Q: Do you have any hobbies?
A: I like reading. I read biblical literature. When I was growing up, I used to like to read comics.
Q: What are some of the happiest time in your life?
A: When I got my class ring. Back in the day they were precious jewels.
I didn’t think I was going to be able to get one and my brothers sent me money. I cried all the way home when I got it.
Also, when I received my high school diploma and my Doctorate of Divinity.
(If you would like to recommend a senior to be spotlighted please contact the Atmore Advance at 368-2123 or e-mail us at email@example.com).