After more than 10 decades of living, Mother Winnie Stringer still possesses a sound mind, unshakeable faith and elegant style.
These qualities and more were highlighted as Pastor Marvin McKenzie and the members of Walker Temple AME Church gathered to celebrate Mother Stringer’s 105th birthday on Sunday, January 22. Tributes, flowers, gifts and applause filled the air as congregants, family and friends recalled the tremendous impact Mother Stringer had on the church and individual lives.
“She’s the matriarch of this church. She has worked and served with every single pastor of this church since its inception,” declared Pastor McKenzie. “Walker Temple will celebrate 72 years next month and Mother Stringer, with her 105 years, surpasses that. She is a jewel within this city and as a church, we celebrate her.”
Councilman Curren Price also came out to salute Mrs. Stringer and present a large award from the City of Los Angeles. Offering heartfelt remarks, Price proclaimed, “It’s an honor to celebrate a real angel right here in our community. She’s seen a lot and done a lot during her life. We’re just so honored to have you in our presence and we just appreciate you!”
Turning towards Mother Stringer as he read from the citation, the councilmember said, “On behalf of the citizens of Council District 9 and the city of Los Angeles, may you be blessed with the happiness of following your heart, the comfort of loving those you care for, and the peace of having a special place in the world. Congratulations on a century of a life well lived. We hope this is the best birthday yet!”
A native of Ennis, Texas, Mother Stringer was born on January 24, 1918. While raising her family, she recalled only earning 25-cents-an hour, however it was enough money to buy groceries for her loved ones.
Since joining Walker Temple in 1956, she has served as a stewardess, deaconess, chaplain, church officer and as a member of various choirs. Many people remarked how they were aided and influenced by Mother Stringer.
“I thank God for her blessing me, training me, teaching me, and showing me things,” said Lillian Witt, who has know Mrs. Stringer for decades. “And the beauty of her is she knows who she is when she gets up in the morning and fixes her toast, tea, and biscuit. I love you, Winfred, and there’s nothing you can do about it!”
Pastor McKenzie shared that Mother Stringer not only maintains her mental faculties, but she continued to drive herself to worship until she turned 101.
“Despite her age, she’s a faithful member and here every Sunday. Regardless of whatever she may be facing, she makes her way to church,” said the pastor.
As for the key to her long life, Mother Stringer said, “Everything that I am and everything that I have I owe it to God. I thank God because I can still cook and clean and take care of myself.”