Mother Emanuel’s new pastor talks about her first days

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) — One of the most famous churches in the country has a new leader. Reverend Dr. Betty Deas Clark was named pastor of Emanuel AME church over the weekend and preached her first official sermon Sunday.

Reverend Dr. Clark received a call Saturday afternoon that she would be ministering Sunday morning. “My heart started racing, my knees started shaking,” said Rev. Dr. Clark, “but I stood knowing that this was ordained of God.”

The Awendaw native is the first female pastor in Mother Emanuel’s history. Clark previously led an AME congregation in Sumter where she says she kept in close contact with the late state senator and Rev. Clementa Pinckney who was killed along with 8 others at a bible study in June last year. “I’m sure that to some of my parishioners it’s like yesterday,” said Clark.

The pastor admits there’s a lot of healing left to do and hopes to add to what’s been built. “It’s going to take me some time to sit with the people, cry with the people, talk to the people,” said Clark,”then talk to God and ask him where do we go from here?.. To be determined by God’s will.”

Rev. Dr. Norvel Goff presided over the Emanuel AME church from last June to January and is running for Bishop.


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