In December of 2022, MTS alum Rev. Sonia Louden Walker retired from First Congo (First Congregational Church) in Memphis after 14 years as Associate Pastor.

Having moved to Memphis so that her late husband, Dr. Walter L. Walker, could take on the presidency of LeMoyne-Owen College, Rev. Walker joined First Congo while a student at MTS in 2007. She shortly thereafter became a minister there following her ordination and her graduation with her Master of Divinity in 2008. Her ministry at First Congo included helping lead worship services, providing pastoral care for the congregation, and connecting the work of the church to the broader community. She has also been featured in Calvary Episcopal Church’s distinguished Lenten Preaching Series a number of times over the years. As her last year of ordained ministry came to a close, Rev. Walker was gracious to provide some of her thoughts about her work in the church and how MTS is part of the story.

1) What have been the most memorable or most significant/meaningful parts of your ministry?

Among the most meaningful parts of my ministry have been the moments in which people risked sharing their stories and trusting me with their truth. I have had that humbling opportunity to be a spiritual doula for people in all walks of life, all ages, categories and struggles.

2) What do you think it will look like to continue practicing and embodying scholarship, piety, and justice in ministry as we continue to advance into the future?

Truth is truth, it sometimes takes more effort to discover or discern truth in its “seasonal fashions;” especially if we don’t like the look, but scholarship, piety and justice really don’t change their stripes. 

The undeniable truth is that God always alerts us more than once when His/Hers is an authentic alert. Clever marketing gurus around the world were not the first to know human beings have to hear a message at least three times before it is recorded in the brain. To continue to practice and embody scholarship, piety and justice in whatever way they are presented, seekers must be committed to following them wherever they lead.

3) How has your education at MTS benefitted you along the way?

My MTS education offered me many new insights about scripture, congregations, service, and self-care. My greatest takeaway was a reconnection with my divinity in partnership with my humanity.

Rev. Walker was also recently featured in the Daily Memphian, in an article by David Waters: “‘We are Methodist or Baptist or DOC or UCC or whatever, but God is God,’ she said. ‘There are the cultures of religion, the politics of religion and then there’s God. I work for God.'”