Rev. Dr. Roe Nall, Jr. will readily acknowledge his humble beginnings as a Zionite, and being sustained through the faith of his dedicated Mother’s mite. He advocates: “Where a person starts in life and ministry has no bearing on where the person will end.” He recalls his first pastoral church appointment to Warrior Mission, by Bishop Felix Anderson, North Alabama Conference in October 1970. He was only 23, newly married, and remembers how warmly the congregation of 17 members embraced them. The one-room church edifice with no plumbing, was heated by a “pot-bellied” coal stove. The meager offerings were used for church maintenance. He served without salary allowance; and later relocated to the Michigan Annual Conference, Saint Paul A.M.E. Zion Church, Toledo, Ohio under the spiritual guidance of Rev. George Maize, III. He subsequently returned to the North Alabama Conference for pastoral work in four churches under the priestly guidance of Bishop J. Clinton Hoggard, who encouraged young ministers to “either go out and start a church or use your gifts and talents to help grow other striving works.” Rev. Nall felt that God was calling him to another point of service, away from the corporate world where he was a Vice President for Human Resources for a major fortune 500 Company.
In preparation for ministry, Rev. Nall earned a Master of Divinity Degree, Candler School of Theology, Emory University, and a Doctorate of Ministry, Luther Rice Seminary, Lithonia, Georgia. Bishop Arthur Marshall, Jr. presented him with a “paper appointment” as Pastor in Charge of Decatur Mission on Sunday, November 2, 1986. There was no official membership roster; no Sunday School classes; no church building; no place to celebrate marriages nor to funeralize loved ones; but God continued the story. “During the 27 years, four months, and eight days as pastor, God raised up a monument to His honor and glory.” Decatur Mission is currently renamed Solid Rock A.M.E. Zion Church, Lithonia, Georgia. At the end of Pastor Nall’s tenure, there were 225 congregants, and the church was completely debt free. The six-acre campus comprises a sanctuary, an educational building, an annex building, and a Senior Day Care Center serving families in DeKalb County Georgia. His mother, Mrs. Virgie Nall, was the Center’s first client. The ministry provided a lucrative salary package, employed five salaried staff members, and had over $500,000 in cash assets. According to Pastor Nall, “God blessed me from my beginnings of no salary nor benefits to a salary with benefit package that was second to none.” He reaped enormous benefits and witnessed renowned travels with Church Choirs and congregants to the White House, Washington, DC and Rome, Italy. He was the only American invited to Rome to serve on the Planning Committee for the 300th Birth Anniversary of Charles Wesley. The Vatican invited Pastor Nall to attend several papal audiences. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church appointed him to the World Methodist Council of which he is now serving his fifth term.
Rev. Nall sponsored a delegation to the 20th World Methodist Conference in Durban, South Africa with the Bishop Clarence Carr Mass Choir of Georgia rendering musical selections. Later, the Solid Rock Ensemble, with musical Director Ronald Stevens, were special guests at the 300th Birth Anniversary celebration of Charles Wesley in Rome, Italy. Such accomplishments cannot be realized without the support of others. He is thankful to Bishops George E. Battle, Jr., Joseph Johnson, and Kenneth Monroe; and the late Bishops Arthur Marshall, Jr., Cecil Bishop, and Clarence Carr for such milestones in the life of his ministries—locally and globally. Where a person starts in life and ministry has no bearing on where the person will end.
As he and his late wife, Mayfred, served throughout the A.M. E. Zion Church with a world perspective, they devoted their ministry to the John Wesleyan Tradition: “Do all the good we can, by all the means we can, in all the ways we can, in all the places we can, at all the times we can, to all the people we can, as long as ever we can.”
Thusly, he embarked upon a missional calling inclusive of the “World as my Parish.” He advocated as the co-founder with his late wife, Mrs. Mayfred Nall, an evolving ministry named Reaching and Meeting Needs Worldwide Ministry, Inc., founded November 29, 2013. This non-profit evangelistic outreach has nurtured the spiritual life of Zion through the publication of the Lenten Dove for the past eleven years, with its commemorative edition published in April 2022. Rev. Dr. Nall, Jr., CEO, has made generous contributions to ecumenical ventures and to Zion causes—locally and internationally, urban and rural churches. He has served as former Presiding Elder of the Georgia Conyers-Winder District, a Pastor of Pastors, and prayer warrior for Zion’s episcopal and executive leaderships.
Globally, he has donated financial gifts to clergy upon their appointments in the Western West African Episcopal Conference during Bishop S. Chuka Ekemam, Sr.’s tenure. He has also donated school and health supplies for a village orphanage in South Africa. Locally, the world parish ministry has renovated bathroom and fellowship halls for rural churches, installed first-class sound systems, paid off mortgages for churches; co-sponsored with metro-churches to feed 3,500 families during the COVID-19 pandemic, and to assist other churches/congregations during natural disasters.
Rev. Nall convenes a weekly meditation and prayer outreach via virtual teleconference and renders other pastoral care “par excellence” to recipients at their point of need. These recipients may be seniors or physically impaired, caregivers of homebound or isolated listeners, active intercessors or exhorters. Some are simply needing the comfort and refuge of corporate prayer. Callers connect through similar struggles, feel transparency and acceptance, seek spiritual presence and compassionate pastoral care. This weekly assembly began to make inquiry of meeting together face to face to share identity beyond the auditory linkage by phone. Thusly, the Inaugural Assembly of the World Parish convened in August 2022, at the Omni Atlanta Hotel at CNN Center, Atlanta, GA. The theme for the Assembly of the World Parish was: “Sustained by God’s Faithfulness.” The gathering of around eighty participants hailed from the north (Ohio), the south (Florida, Alabama, Mississippi), the east (Virginia, North Carolina, Maryland, Georgia), and west (Texas). The fellowship forged a connection between voices and faces uniting.
Event planners, Marva McKnight and Janice Grady, facilitated an enjoyable weekend itinerary with a meet and greet reception, cultural civil rights and city tour, banquet, and Sunday Morning Prayer and Worship Services. Rev. Garrett Williamson, Emmanuel A.M.E. Zion Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia, was keynote speaker for the Banquet. He expounded on sermon topic, “I Thought We Were Going to Have a Good Time,” Genesis 9:20-21; central points: Noah received favor but experienced challenging obstacles as a result of the flood; humanity’s preservation and the revelation of Noah’s inherent gift was not revealed until the storm; Noah’s ark experience left him drunk and taxed without resolve. Pastor Nall has served parishioners from a godly perspective to navigate life’s turbulent storms and to prayerfully seek resolution through spiritual guidance.
Dr. Rachel Dunbar was the Banquet Program Presider; other program participants were: Rev. Dr. Merchuria Williams, Dr. Sondra Coleman, Rev. Garrette Williamson, Dr. Steven Steinhilber, Ms. Vanessa Nealey, Professor Edward White; Ms. Virginia Mathis, Rev. Sabrina Scott, and Mr. Paul and Mrs. Jenny Thompson; China Scholars: Khadija Easley, Kendarius McNeese, Keneisha Rollins, and Derrick Williams.
Special awards and recognitions followed: First person to register, Eloise Ramsey; most distant travelers, Bill and Vicki Tabor; the volunteer, Cheryl Weems; the evangelist, Zeddie Hall; the youth attendee, E. J. Dunbar, Jr.; the youngest attendee, Naomi Rose Wherry.
The concluding services began Sunday morning, August 21 at 8:00 A.M. Rev. Shirley Sparks, Pastor, Walls Chapel A.M.E. Zion Church, Toledo, Ohio, was the Worship Leader for the Sunday Morning “Encountering God Through Prayer” Service. Other participants in the Prayer service were Bonita Adams, Arietha Lockhart, Rev. Charles Watkins, Sr., Rev. Tandra Jones, Rev. Dorothy Thomas, Rev. Gwendolyn Moore, Ron Marshall, Johnna Moon, Debra Rivers and Monique Wherry. These prayer warriors from clergy and laity addressed spiritual, human, societal, generational, and political needs.
The culminating Worship Service began promptly at 10:00 A.M. with the Call to Worship by Pastor Nall. The Prayer of Invocation, Rev. April Sumrow; the Morning Prayer, Dr. Montina Jackson. The closing sermon encouraged attendees to remain “Sustained by God’s Faithfulness.” The parishioners individually received a benedictive blessing as they quietly recessed from the sanctuary in preparation of returning to their homes throughout the nation. Pastor Roe Nall, Jr., Mr. Clement Ezeanii, E. J.Dunbar, Jr., Dr. Tamara Nall-Ezeanii, and Dr. Rachel Dunbar, were gracious hosts and hostesses for all the events of the Assembly of the World Parish as a Global Ministry.
As Rev. Dr. Roe Nall, Jr. reflects on the Methodist, ancestral legends which have impacted his life, he acknowledges a mantra to go into the world imparting the gospel message and making disciples. His ecumenical outreach has become a viable legacy for pastoral care and ministerial support through the “Wesleyan” tradition.