Written in 2008. Reverend Kimbrough is always going to be my pastor and my friend. . . . and I am glad I know him too. I learned to be a real Christian when I joined Cascade and was under the care and guidance of Dr. Kimbrough. And then, he has that one thing that makes him greater – Marge Kimbrough. I continue to follow him around at various churches, where he speaks since his retirement from Cascade, because I enjoy his messages.
PreacherMan – A Servant of God – A Life Fantastically Well-Done!
The Reverend Doctor Walter L. Kimbrough
by Bunnie Jackson-Ransom
Have you ever met a man of God who made you feel special and protected – a reverent man – a pastoral minister – a servant of God? Every time I see The Reverend Dr. Walter L. Kimbrough, I come away with the feeling of reassurance – that everything is alright because he said it would be. There is an aura that surrounds Walter Kimbrough; maybe it’s because he stands six-feet, five-inches tall, weighs about 240 pounds, and speaks with power, conviction and authority in his splendid voice. By anyone’s standards, he is truly a history-maker.
For forty plus years, Reverend Kimbrough has been feeding his flock – people who make up the communities of Atlanta. He was called to the ministry while an active member of the Mount Carmel Baptist Church in the Summerhill community of Atlanta. After graduating from Morris Brown College, he received the Master’s of Divinity Degree from The Interdenominational Theological Center.
In 1966, Kimbrough and his family moved to Chicago and he became the first African American pastor of Calvary United Methodist Church – a church involved in racial transition. He successfully led this church through its transition and was later appointed to the Auburn Park United Methodist Church in 1968. This church, also experiencing racial transition, was merged with two additional United Methodist congregations; and the church body was named Faith United Methodist Church. It was Mrs. Kimbrough who convinced the members that the merger was a venture of “faith” from which they took their name.
In 1972, the family moved to Atlanta and Reverend Kimbrough was appointed to the Centenary United Methodist Church. In a very short time, Centenary’s membership was overflowing. Because of Reverend Kimbrough’s success with churches in racial transition, in 1974 he was appointed to Cascade United Methodist Church where his expertise was vital to the success of this church. He moved Cascade from a fading congregation of less than 100 members to a vibrant group; and by 1986, the congregation was bigger than it had ever been with more than 2000 members. In 1986, Reverend Kimbrough was transferred to Ben Hill United Methodist Church, a congregation with 4000 members. He served this church with distinction for six years and increased its membership to more than 7000. In 1992, Reverend Kimbrough was reappointed to Cascade; and led this church in building and relocating to a 5.2 million-dollar edifice. While pasturing at Cascade, the church membership grew from 2,500 to more than 7000. Dr. Kimbrough retired from this pastorate in 2006 and is currently Pastor Emeritus. Today, Dr. Kimbrough is the pastor-in-residence at Gammon Seminary of The Interdenominational Theological Center, and a preaching partner to the Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church in Alpharetta.
Dr. Kimbrough is a teacher, an evangelist, a preacher, a community servant and leader, and a family man. He has provided leadership at many levels of this community, this state and this nation.
Never too busy to give his time and attention to community needs, Dr. Kimbrough is a member of the Board of Visitors for Emory University, a member of the Peachtree Corridor Taskforce, and honorary chair of the Morris Brown College Circle of Friends. Dr. Kimbrough has served as Chair and Vice Chair of the MARTA Board. He has served on the Board of Directors of the United Way of Metropolitan
Atlanta, the Board of the American Red Cross (Atlanta Chapter), the Trustee Board of Reinhardt College and the Southwest Community Hospital Board. For three years he chaired the Church Committee of the United Negro College Fund Telethon, and was appointed by the Governor to the State Housing Trust Fund for the Homeless Commission. He is a life member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Doctor Kimbrough is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, some of which include the Denman Award for Excellence in Evangelism and three Honorary Doctorate degrees. He was one of the community heroes whose face appeared on the Coca-Cola Centennial Olympic Wall. He is the author of a book, Nothing Is Impossible and his address “Reclaiming Our Mission to the City” appears in the book, The World Forever Our Parish. He is a contributor to 365 Meditations for Men, 365 Meditations for Families, and Black-Jewish Relations.
He is a Grady Baby. Raised in a single family home on Terry Street, in a slum community, he often comments that he was “po” and proud. “You may be knocked down, but you don’t have to lie down – you got to get up, get strong and remember that you are somebody,” Kimbrough often says.
Walter L. Kimbrough is married to Marjorie Lindsay Kimbrough (a prolific author and educator). They are the parents of two adult sons, Walter and Wayne, and the grandparents of Lydia.
When one greets Dr. Kimbrough with the familiar question, “How are you?” he comes back at you with his well-known Kimbroughism – “Fantastically Well!” Therefore, knowing that he is well, recognizing that his service to this community has been done quite well, and believing that all is well with his soul, we say that his life has been lived “Fantastically Well!”
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The Reverend Dr. Walter Kimbrough is the Pastor in Residence at Mt Pisgah United Methodist Church & Pastor Emeritus of Cascade United Methodist Church