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Rev. Clementa Pinckney: Good Shepherd Remained With His Flock To The End
6/18/2015 3:03:38 PM

Rev. Clementa Pinckney
By Barney Blakeney

When Rev. Clementa Pinckney became pastor of Emanuel AME Church in 2010 he knew he was undertaking a huge responsibility. He would be shepherd of a huge flock at one of the oldest, largest and most prominent churches in the African Methodist Episcopal Church’s Seventh District in South Carolina.

But at 41 years of age, Pinckney who in 1997 became the South Carolina General Assembly’s youngest member as representative of House Dist. 122, was used to making substantial accomplishments while young. As a member of the AME Church, he became a minister at age 13. By age 18 he was pastor of his own church. At 25 he became pastor of Mt. Horr AME church on Yonges Island.

Service was Pinckney’s mission. He grew up in Jasper County where he attended public schools. A graduate of Allen University in Columbia, Pinckney led his student body as Freshman Class President was Student Body President and Senior Class President.

While in college, he worked as a page for Jasper County House member, Rep. Juanita White. By his senior year at Allen he had become head page supervising all pages of the House. A year later he was elected to succeed Rep. White as the House District 122 representative.

In conjunction with his budding political career, Pinckney was becoming a major force in the Church as well. He pastored a church in Columbia while still in college. “I see my political work as an extension of my clerical work,” he said in 2000 while seeking election to the Senate Dist. 45 seat that is comprised of communities in six counties including Allendale, Beaufort, Charleston, Colleton and Jasper counties. As a politician his goal was to provide to his parishioners the material necessities of life.

In 2010 Pinckney became Pastor of Emanuel. It was a major appointment for a minister of his youth. But it was his youth and education that provided him his greatest assets, said the Lutheran Southern Seminary graduate.

His education and experience helped him better serve his congregation and the constituents of District 45. The Magna Cum Laude Allen University graduate held a Business Administration degree from the school, was a Princeton University Summer Research Fellow and a member of Alpha Phi Alpha Inc. who also held a masters of Public Administration degree from the University of South Carolina.

When Dylann Roof, suspected of killing Pinckney and eight members of his congregation while at Bible Study June 17, entered the church in downtown Charleston, he found Pinckney there. And as any good shepherd, Pinckney remained with his flock until the end.

“The world is better off because Clementa Pinckney lived,” said his colleague in the Charleston County Legislative Delegation Dist. 42 Sen. Marlon Kimpson. Pinckney was the son of John and Theopia Stevenson Pinckney. He leaves to mourn him his wife, Jennifer Benjamin Pinckney and two young daughters.

Visitor Comments

Submitted By: Nathan Submitted: 6/19/2015
Pastor Pinckney was a great man of God. When I met him he was very pleasant and offered to help me in any way that he can. We will miss him dearly

Submitted By: Robert Malone Submitted: 6/19/2015
What a tragic thing to happen to all the victims. We will not only honor and remember Pastor Pinckney, but the other victims as well.

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