SUMTER, SC (March 22, 2016) – Sumter Mayor Joe McElveen paid tribute to the new pastor of Emanuel AME Church for her contributions locally by proclaiming today as “Dr. Betty Deas Clark Day.”
McElveen presented Clark with a proclamation, which outlined her accomplishments in Sumter, and a plaque with the Key to the City during a special reception at the City Centre. McElveen was joined by several city officials including Councilwomen Ione Dwyer and Coleen Yates. A number of members from her former and current church families also
“This is a day we’ve been looking forward to,” said McElveen, whose proclamation thanks Clark for her work in Sumter and congratulates her in new capacity.
McElveen noted that when Clark came to Sumter she contacted the city and expressed her willingness to serve and was later appointed to the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals.
Sumter Police Chief Russell Roark spoke of his friendship with Clark that developed about four years ago when the AME Conference was held in Sumter.
“We became partners to ensure the quality of life for all people in Sumter,” Roark said. “She’s been a leader… She walked the walk and she talked the talk.”
In partnership with the Police Department, Clark and Mt. Pisgah Church organized the Nurturing Our World project to serve women, men and families affected by domestic violence.
Clark served as pastor of Mt. Pisgah AME Church in Sumter since 2011 until her appointment in January as pastor of the historic Emanuel AME in Charleston.
“Mother Emanuel” has received international attention since June 15, 2015, largely because of the compassion and forgiveness shown after nine of its members were senselessly killed by a lone
The next day, Clark was one of a handful of AME pastors across the state who was called on to open her church’s doors in Sumter to the public to come together in prayer.
She had no idea at the time that she would soon be called on to return to her home county and serve as pastor.
“I’m called by God to serve ‘Mother Emanuel,’” Clark said.