CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Friends describe Clementa Pinckney in many ways: pastor, senator, father.
Wednesday, the pastor of Mother Emanuel on Calhoun Street was among eight others killed by a single gunman during a bible study meeting.
Childhood pastor Rev. John Paul Brown first met Pinckney while leading the congregation at St. John AME, Pinckney's hometown church in Ridgeland, SC.
Brown described him as a "go-getter", someone with a special gift.
"What he set his sight on, he went after," he said.
At 13 years old, Pinckney accepted the call to preach, leading his first congregation by 18 years of age.
In 2010, AME leaders chose Pinckney to lead Mother Emanuel, the second oldest African-American church in the South, also one with a storied history in the civil rights movement.
William Dudley Gregorie, a Charleston city councilman and longtime member of Emanuel AME Church described the former pastor as a "man with a vision."
"His vision was to create a Mother Emanuel that was self sustaining," Gregorie said.
Among Pinckney's recent projects was a fundraising effort to build a church elevator, providing accessibility for all its members. He also led several real estate projects in the Charleston area, which he hoped to turn into rental income for Mother Emanuel.
"I don't recall where he did much for himself," Brown added.
"His ministry, his service was always something toward others."