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Full Gospel chooses Bishop Paul Morton’s successor

15th July 2013   ·   0 Comments

Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III will succeed Bishop Paul S. Morton as Presiding Bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship Inter­national. Morton, who will retire in 2015, founded FGBCFI 20 years ago, made the much anticipated an­nouncement on July 5 in Louisville, KY among thousands of FGBCFI conf­erence attendees and a worldwide television viewing audience. The ap­pointment, which was determined by the votes of the FGBCFI Bishop’s Council, sends a powerful message of trust and respect in Walker, the 45-year-old proven and successful leader.



“I’m humbled and thankful by this God-ordained responsibility and opportunity. I’m so grateful for the confidence Bishop Morton and the Bishop’s Council has shown in choosing me as the next Presiding Bishop,” Wa;let said. “Certainly, I am committed to the positive future of the Fellowship. I will continue to work hard each and every day to insure that the mission and vision established by our founder is fulfilled. We will remain strong, committed and undivided during this transition.”

In 1992 Bishop Paul S. Morton founded the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship, a movement to lead and teach born-again Christians how to become more strongly grounded in their faith in Jesus. FGBCFI is one of the largest African-American Protestant religious organizations in the United States with an estimated two million members. FGBCFI headquarters are located in Atlanta, GA. Morton and his wife, Elder Debra Morton, are credited with bringing enormous growth and prosperity to Greater St. Stephen, a relatively small uptown New Orleans church whose membership exceeded 25,000 members by 1994. Before Hurricane Katrina, Greater St. Stephen ministered to believers in three locations — eastern New Orleans, uptown New Orleans and the West Bank. The devastating storm of 2005 forced many residents to evacuate to other cities like Houston and Atlanta, prompting the Mortons to establish a ministry in Atlanta, Georgia to meet the needs of displaced New Orleans residents.

For more information about the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International, visit

Bishop Joseph Walker pastors one of the largest churches in the United States, Mt. Zion Baptist Church in Nashville, TN, which has grown from 175 members in 1992 to over 28,000 members today. Mt. Zion Baptist Church is one church, with three locations, offering 30+ ministries for social and economic enhancement of the Nashville community and abroad.

Named as one of the top 20 African-American Pastors in the country by, Walker sits on noteworthy national boards, including the board of the American Red Cross, and holds a Governor-appointed post on the Tennessee Human Rights Com­mission. The influential leader, while preaching seven services per week at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, has an international Internet, television and radio ministry reaching hundreds of thousands around the world.

Bishop Walker will assume his role during a season where the church culture is wrestling with an array of challenges and negative media surrounding it. An astute, spiritual motivator, Walker has turned tragedy and hardship into triumph and testimony: in 2005, his first wife passed away due to cancer; in 2007, his home was destroyed by fire; and in 2012, a flurry of baseless and unmerited lawsuit allegations were filed against him. The adversities have tempered Walker to be a leader prepared to lead a movement. In 2009, Bishop Walker remarried; in 2009, Bishop Walker’s home was restored; and in 2012, the lawsuit allegations were dismissed 100 percent by the Tennessee Judiciary. As a champion of the faith, Bishop Joseph W. Walker, III continues to carry the message of love, faith and hope that has inspired the world for more than 2,000 years.

Bishop Walker, a Shreveport, La., native, received a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern University; a Master of Divinity degree from Vanderbilt University and a Doctor of Ministry degree from Princeton Theological Semi­nary, and is a member of the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. He is the author of eight books, including the current top-selling title, Becoming A Couple of Destiny. Bishop Walker also serves as the Bishop of Senior Pastors within the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International. Walker is married to the former Dr. Stephanie Hale. She is the Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Neonatology at Vanderbilt University and they have one daughter, Jovanni Willow Walker.

This article originally published in the July 15, 2013 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.

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