Open Door COGIC History
Behold, I set before thee an Open Door, and no man can shut it. (Revelations 3:8)
The Open Door Church of God in Christ was founded by Elder Otis I. Walker who moved into this role after having served as Assistant Pastor to the late Elder B. J. Wood of the No. 1 Church of God in Christ for over 15 years. Providing encouragement and support during this transition period were his wife, Sister Claudia Walker and his children.
The small group that was to form the original congregation of the Open Door Church started out in a small building on East 10 Street that had been occupied by a congregation led by Elder Hulan Williams. Pastor Walkers family members joined him in his new endeavor. They were joined by two of his siblings, Missionary Eunice Alexander and Sister Velma Swan. The congregation also included neighbors of the area and later also included members of Gary Job Corps from San Marcos, Texas. The building was small, but the Spirit of God moved in a mighty way.
The first services of the Open Door Church of God in Christ were held May, 1977. Church ministries included the church choir, let by Brother Anthony Walker, street services led by Elder Douglas Dillard, nursing home services led by Sister Gloria King, and the children's ministry led by Sister Gwendolyn Dillard. The childrens ministry included a band with instruments and robes donated by local businesses. Out of the children's ministry grew the Y.P.W. W. (Young Peoples Willing Workers) and an organized Sunday School.
As the services flourished, there was a need for additional space. From the small building on East 10th, Pastor Otis Walker saw fit to move the church to a better location. Taking his morning walk, Pastor Walker spotted a For Sale sign on a small residence at 3317 E. 12th. The original building was a small house. Pastor Walker knew that not only was there more land available at this location, but that the East 12th Street location was a much better location and it was a location where he could envision a future.
The Lord blessed the vision. The house n East 12th was renovated and 3317 East 12th became the home of the newly named Open Door Church of God in Christ. The year was 1980. The dedication of the renovated building was held on August 30, 1981. The Open Door church grew and new members were added. The building was a modest frame structure but, the presence of the Lord was there. Sunday night services were often attended not only by Open Door members, but also members from neighbor churches in the area came to share in the services.
Growth brings changes. Some members were relocated to other cities and states by their jobs or called to new ministries. Over time, some were called home to be with the Lord. Their contributions have great value and make up a part of the history of the Open Door Church. With growth came the need for improvement in the building. Renovating the present structure was not practical. Pastor Walker was given the vision of erecting a new sanctuary and a church building fund was organized and led by Brother Anthony Walker and Pastor Walker. The church pulled together and groundbreaking services were held. The contractor for the new building was Mr. John Bedford. The sanctuary was completed and the first services were held on Sunday, April 1, 1990. The dedication services were in May, 1990.
The history of the church continues to unfold. As the church progressed, God sent workers to put legs to the vision that had been given to him: A deacon board was established with Deacon James Collins as the head, many gifted musicians worked faithfully in the music ministry, and the work of the ministry was carried out by different auxiliaries established as time passed.
When Pastor Otis Walker was called home to be with the Lord and Elder Anthony Walker was installed as pastor of the church after faithfully serving with his father in his lifetime. Pastor Anthony Walker and his wife Missionary Judy Walker now serve as the leaders of the Open Door Church of God in Christ.The vision is ongoing and evolving as time passes and the congregation and its leaders continue to look forward to the future because it is really true that The best is yet to come.