By CBSBoston.com Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — If you’re a longtime resident of these parts, you know Liz Walker has been a staple. But the news anchor turned activist, turned pastor says she is now moving on to the next chapter in her life.

The Reverend Liz Walker admitted to struggling with her emotions as she put some finishing touches on her sermon.

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“It’s hard to leave a place that you love,” said Walker.

Her final service as pastor at Roxbury Presbyterian Church began and ended with hugs from the faithful, including one of her primary mentors.

“Liz has never struck back from a challenge,” said Rev. Gloria White-Hammond of Bethel AME Church.

For Walker, those challenges began when she came to Boston 40 years ago. Starting as the city’s first Black weeknight new anchor, Walker had a front-row seat to racism in Boston, but also its promise.

What Walker thought would be a career stop turned into a four-decade stay.

“She stepped up and did the work that she was called to do. That girl really is on fire,” said White-Hammond.

That fire to help people took her from TV to the Harvard Divinity School to the pulpit.

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Walker always insisted that community outreach was the core of her ministry, lending her powerful presence and leadership in crisis after crisis. Walker even postponed her retirement for two years to help the city through the pandemic.

“I did the best I could and tried to be a part of a healing movement,” she said. “Our world is in desperate need of healing.”

At age 70, she is now stepping aside as pastor to write a book about trauma and healing while she splits her time between Boston and Florida.

“Every time this community stands up for fairness we do it in memory of [Liz],” White-Hammond told the Roxbury Presbyterian Church.

But nobody who knows her is expecting a quiet retirement.

“I’m excited about this next chapter. I’m confident the best is yet to come,” said White-Hammond.

Walker’s brother made the trip from Chicago for her final sermon while many of the local faithful watched online.

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After the first of the year, Walker is off to a home she bought a couple of years ago in Sarasota, Florida where work on the book begins.

CBSBoston.com Staff