Former Emanuel AME pastor speaks at pride event

VIDEO: Former Emanuel AME pastor speaks at pride event

CHARLESTON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - Former Mother Emanuel AME pastor Reverend Doctor Betty Deas Clark spoke at the Charleston Marriott Wednesday evening for Charleston Pride week.

Clark, the first female pastor in the history of the church, was re-assigned to Bethel AME in Georgetown in June after she went to Orlando following the mass shooting there.

Since then, some church members have been upset over the timing of her reassignment.

It came shortly after the one-year anniversary of the church shooting at Mother Emanuel.

To many, there are several unanswered questions.

"To say that I've not been on an emotional roller coaster would be a lie," Clark said.

She did not get specific about why she left Mother Emanuel, after serving as the pastor there for only five-and-half months, but, to a crowd of more than 100, she explained her actions prior to her transfer.

"When I went to Orlando, I did not go for any other reason than to show the love of Christ," Clark said.

She didn't focus on the past;rather, preached a message of moving forward.

"Whatever relationship is strained, let love pull it back together," Clark said.

The event was put on by the Alliance for Full Acceptance (AFFA) for Charleston Pride week, aimed at promoting equality.

"You don't have to look like me for me to love you," Clark said. "You don't have to walk the way I walk. You don't have to think the way I think."

Many said it was a powerful speech.

"You inspire every inch of me with your love, your compassion and your guts," one woman in the crowd said.

City of Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg was also there, inspired by her words.

"This will be our ambassador of love, Reverend Betty Deas Clark," Mayor Tecklenburg said, giving Clark a hug.

She was honored to receive the title.

She gave hugs to almost everyone there and invited questions and comments.

"It showed them how you can stick out and do what is right for the right reasons," one woman said.

While Clark didn't explain past events, and said she's not sure what the future holds for her, she did guarantee one thing.

"No matter where I am, I'm going to be the same person," Clark said. "No matter what happens."

There are several more events coming up for Charleston pride week. For more information click HERE.

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