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Minister Farrakhan Joins Tribute To Rev. Clay Evans

By Tariqah Shakir- Muhammad | Last updated: Jul 4, 2017 - 5:48:40 PM

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CHICAGO—Rev. Clay Evans, known as a civil rights activist and inspirational leader within the Christian and Chicago community, recently turned 92 years old.

The anniversary of his birth was celebrated by hundreds of supporters, family members and clergy at the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church he founded in 1950.

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Pastors of various churches giving tribute to Rev. Evans

Also in attendance were pastors of various churches, including Pastor Bryant Jones, Elder DeAndre Patterson, Pastor Albert Simmons and Pastor Eric Thomas. The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam was among special guests, who also included Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Rev. Jesse Jackson, the civil rights leader.

During a series of brief tributes June 25, Minister Farrakhan spoke about and congratulated Rev. Evans for his life of service and his legacy.

“When Reverend Jackson introduced me to Reverend Clay Evans, I met the mind of Christ in a man and I thank God for this wonderful disciple, apostle of Christ,” the Minister told the audience. “He has shown thousands what it means to be a real Christian and I thank God for the day I met him, I thank God that his spirit touched me. And I thank Rev. Jackson for introducing me to a spiritual father.”

Rev. Evans received his training as a pastor from the Chicago Baptist Institute and the Northern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1946. He started his church September 10, 1950. He opened his doors to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement when many pastors refused. He helped to launch Operation Breadbasket and Operation PUSH with the help of Rev. Jesse Jackson and was a strong fighter for civil and equal rights.

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Min. Louis Farrakhan (R) Honoree Rev. Clay Evans, center, with Rev. Jesse Jackson, right, during ceremony.

He retired as pastor on December 8, 2000. His successor is Reverend Charles Jenkins.

In commemoration of his birthday, an exhibit featuring 147 photographs, 44 film clips and 47 artifacts from the life and work of the Rev. Evans were included in Harold Washington Library collections and will be on display through February 2018. Glenn Humphreys and Michelle McCoy from the Harold Washington Center represented the exhibit during the ceremony.

A joyful song and dance directed by Dr. Lou Della Evans-Reid and the Traditional Gospel Choir had the audience singing and clapping along. There was enough laughter and joy to go around the entire church.

Rev. William Brookes, ordained by Rev. Evans, stated that the honoree fought hard for justice. “We worked together to bring cable to Chicago; he marched with Dr. King to bring equality and equal opportunity,” he said.

“All of us have to ask a question in our lives, what’s our rent? We know on this birthday, the rent he’s paid and he’s paid a lot of rent,” Mayor Emanuel stated. “He has put his thumb on the scale of justice and he has tipped the scales.”

The mayor also thanked the congregation and the honoree for continuing a legacy of serving justice in Chicago.

Following a dozen pastors and supporters paying tribute, Rev. Jackson reminisced about the moments he witnessed the passion and courage Rev. Evans had in preaching and guiding people toward unity and equality. On one occasion, Rev. Evans refused not to mention Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson’s program during a sermon. Despite being threatened with a deadly weapon, the reverend stood for his beliefs and pursuits, said Rev. Jackson.

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Audience enjoying choir singing and dancing.

Towards the end of the celebration ceremony, another choir of song and dance kept spirits high, and brought some to the brink of joyful tears.

“We are family; my mother and my father was under Reverend Clay Evans as well,” Kenita Berner, a member of the Missionary Baptist Church, tearfully told The Final Call. “We love Reverend Clay Evans. He is so loving; he is just a great man of God for real.”

Attendee Angela Massey believes Rev. Evans is a great man in servicing the people. “He can bring people together—all walks of life, every social status, any economic circle—he can do that. He was a trendsetter at the beginning and still is at 92.”

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