‘Annointed with the spirit’ and born to preach

By David Knopf/Richmond News

There’s not much disagreement about how Robert L. Welker, Sr. preaches. Let’s just say he doesn’t mince words or hold back on the emotion or volume.

“For one thing, he preaches the old-time Gospel,” said Ed Lee Swafford, an elder in First Church of God and Welker’s longtime friend. “He doesn’t sugarcoat the Word.”

Welker, soon to be 83, retired from full-time pastoring in 1993, the year he and his wife, Helen, moved back to Richmond to be with their children. He focused on evangelical preaching, a format perfectly suited to what Swafford describes as his “fire and brimstone” style of delivering the Gospel.

“I was always known as a loud preacher,” said Welker, who’ll be honored by the Church Sunday with Pastor Appreciaton Day services and a basket dinner. “I was annointed with the Spirit. I studied quite a bit, but at lot of times I’d walk into a church and they’d ask me to preach.”

See the complete story in the Sept. 15 Richmond News.

Robert L. Welker Sr. had two stints with Richmond First Church of God, the first coming in 1973 when just eight members and five members of the Welker family attended his first Sunday service. Welker helped revive the church and build support for a new church building on Camden Street. Welker left for a time, but when he returned to Richmond for good. It wasn’t as a regular preacher but as an evangelist. Although he’s retired now, Welker preaches from time to time, often without the cane he normally uses to walk. (Photos by David Knopf/Richmond News)


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