Dr. Ephraim Williams served as senior pastor of St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church for 49 years, growing it to one of the largest and most influential Black churches in the area.

OAK PARK – “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.”

While many scriptures were quoted during the retirement service for St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church’s veteran pastor, Dr. Ephraim Williams last Sunday, the one from Timothy 5:17 seemed to set the tone for the morning program. The event honored Dr. Williams for 49 years of service.

“Pastor Williams has finished the course well,” said Perseus Poku, a minister with St. Paul.

“He has taught his Bible studies well. He has counselled well. He has preached well. He has mentored well. He has visited the sick well. So let the elder who rules well be affordable double honor especially someone like pastor Williams,” he continued.

Poku was among many who spoke at the program, held outside St.Paul’s Oak Park sanctuary due to the coronavirus and restrictions on large, inside gatherings. Others sharing remarks on Dr. Williams’ impact included Dr. Welton Pleasant, Ecclesiastical Community President, California State Baptist Convention, Inc.; Dr. Fred Campbell, the National Baptist Convention USA’s board chair; and Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn, an Oak Park native whom Dr. Williams prayed over when he was sworn in as the City’s first Black police chief.

“Pastor Williams is truly, truly a legend in this town and in this region,” Chief Hahn shared.

In presenting Dr. Williams with a Key To The City, Mayor Darrell Steinberg lauded him for his ability to reach and inspire.

“The passing of John Lewis a week ago reminded me — it reminds us all —that there aren’t that many great men left and when you are in the presence of greatness, it is important to celebrate it,” Steinberg said.

Greater Sacramento Urban League President and CEO Cassandra Jennings, who attends St. Paul, referred to Dr. Williams as her “forever pastor and spiritual father.”

“He has advised governors, mayors and elected leaders, organization leaders, pastors in this region and across this United States. He has provided advice and counsel to thousands of individuals, families, collectives and collaboratives, youth judges, entrepreneurs and business leaders — all for the betterment of our community.”

While he has retired now and duties of senior pastor have been passed on to Rev. Kenneth Reece, the ever-humble Dr. Williams says he’ll always be of service, helping those who need him.

“I’ll do that until I die. I cannot stop helping people.”

EDITOR’S NOTE: The Sacramento OBSERVER will publish more on Dr. Williams’ retirement service and his legacy of leadership and spiritual guidance in the Sacramento region in a special edition that will be published next month.

By Genoa Barrow | OBSERVER Senior Staff Writer