More than 1,500 people, including dignitaries such as former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, helped celebrate the work of Bishop Preston Williams last year when he retired from the ministry — including election as President of the Global Council of Bishops of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in 2006.
Hailing from the little South Georgia town of Willacoochee, Bishop Williams would go on to help another South Georgian rise to a presidency of his own as he served on the Inaugural Committee for President Jimmy Carter in 1976. His work would take him to Atlanta, Africa and, in his most recent post, South Carolina, as Presiding Prelate of the A.M.E.’s 7th Episcopal District, covering most of the state of South Carolina.
He always has had a heart for helping people have decent places to live. While serving as Senior Pastor at Atlanta’s Allen Temple A.M.E. Church in the late 1990s, he worked with the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development on the renovation of more than 600 Atlanta-area apartment units. Before that, he served as pastor of Atlanta’s St. Paul’s A.M.E. Church for 16 years, where his many accomplishments included leading the building ofa new Family Life Center and a 33-unit apartment complex used to house homeless mothers and their children.
So, it was a blessing — but not necessarily a surprise — to see the Bishop swinging a hammer with dozens of other volunteers at the 2016 Millard Fuller Legacy Build in Valley, Alabama, this week. In fact, while he may be retired from the ministry, his dedication to Christian service continues to grow, and he was in Valley to glean insight and inspiration from Fuller Center for Housing leaders as he looks to the future.
We spoke with the Bishop this morning about why he and his son, physicist Arnold Andre Williams, decided to help build homes at this year’s build. Here’s a video of our 3-minute chat today: