Reverend Walker

By Matt Brown

Rev. Michael Walker has been a part of the church in Brockton since 1982 but is still a long way from where he once called home.
Walker, born in 1957, grew up in the South part of Dallas and was introduced to the church at a young age.

Much like the community he grew up in, the Salem institutional Baptist Church in Dallas was an all African-American church and was very close. "It was delightful growing up in the church and we had a great community," Walker said.

When it came time for Walker to attend college, he chose a much different scene and continued his education at Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine just south of Portland. What stood out to Walker when he got to Maine in 1975 was that there were 1 million people in the state and just 1,000 of them were black. At Bowdoin, there were only 12 African-American students. "It was a lot different. The people were different and the weather was different, all the snow was a major shock," Walker said.

After Walker graduated in 1979, he chose to attend grad school in Cambridge. He loved Cambridge for its urban feel. "I love walking and taking walks and Cambridge was great for that. In Dallas you are driving everywhere because everything is so spread out and the area is so big," Walker said. However, Cambridge also came with an illusion much different than Dallas had. The display of racism in Cambridge came with impression that everything was open and okay.

"In Dallas, you knew your place and you were reminded of that. I didn't mind it, I knew what was what and where everyone was coming from. But up here, no one wants to admit racism exists; it's colorblind racism," Walker said.

Today, Walker is a Reverend and the Messiah Baptist church in Brockton; however becoming a Reverend was never his original plan. Walker met the people from the church when he was in Cambridge attending graduate school.

The Messiah Baptist Church does a lot with the community to get people involved. "We do a jazz festival that is intentionally diversified so we have people of all races, all ages, all sexual orientations with no judgments and no stereotypes so there's lots of diversity," Walker said. The church also does ministry work, tutorials, piano lessons and arts and crafts for children as well.

As for the future of the church, there are goals Walker said he would like to see achieved in the near future, but one stands out; that is to become more inclusive. "We generally want to become more inclusive for all people, all ages, all nationalities, genders and sexual orientations and become more inclusive all across the board," Walker said.

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