New York

Pastor Calvin Butts, leader of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, dies at 73

New York – Reverend Calvin Butts, one of New York City’s most prominent religious leaders, has died at the age of 73.

He was the senior pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church of Harlem for over 30 years and pastor for 50 years.

The church announced his death early Friday morning, saying he died peacefully after a battle with pancreatic cancer.

Butts devoted himself to his faith, but his influence went far beyond the pulpit. He was an advocate for social and racial justice and a guiding light for his Harlem his community.

On Friday night, CBS2’s Dick Brennan spotted parishioners paying their respects with flowers and candles placed outside the church.

“I just wanted to pay tribute to a great man and what he did to the community and what he did to me directly,” said parishioner Leon Harris. He guided me,” he said.

“He gave us strength. He gave us the will to fight for what our community needed,” said parishioner Frank Harris. .

Butts was an advocate for social justice, but above all, a preacher leading the congregation that followed his leadership in the Abyssinian Baptist Church for decades. He was indeed a pastor of the people.

Former Congressman Charles Rangel said, “So many people stopped me in the street and asked me how was Reverend Butts. He was the man everyone thought was their pastor.” ‘ said.

But he wanted more for his congregation.

Former mayor Mike Bloomberg tweeted that Butts “literally adopted the idea of ​​building a kingdom of God.”

“If you name the problem of schools, affordable housing, or affordable housing in this community, Dr. Butts has been working on that problem and/or has been its leader,” said former Manhattan Borough of C. Virginia Fields. rice field.

Calvin Otis Butts III was born on July 19, 1949. After graduating from Flushing High School, he earned his degree at Morehouse. He joined a Baptist church as a youth minister in 1972 and was promoted to minister, later becoming a political kingmaker.

“He was not only a spiritual leader, but a dear friend and mentor,” said Mayor Eric Adams.

Butts invited leaders from a variety of ideologies to his church, from George Pataki to Fidel Castro, and was unafraid of political strife.

Reverend Al Sharpton admits that they didn’t always see eye to eye, but eventually reconciled.

“After a while, you say? I may disagree with him sometimes, but I have to respect this man. He’s one of a kind,” he said. Told.

During the twilight and final battles of his life, Butts still put up a good fight and encouraged his flock.

No word yet on funeral arrangements.

Follow this page for his life and legacy.

https://www.cbsnews.com/newyork/live-updates/rev-dr-calvin-butts-dies-at-the-age-of-73/ Pastor Calvin Butts, leader of Harlem’s Abyssinian Baptist Church, dies at 73

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