Rev. Clay Evans, Chicago pastor and civil rights leader, dead at 94

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Reverend Clay Evans, a legendary Chicago pastor and civil rights leader, passed away Wednesday. He was 94 years old.

"When I leave this world, I'll leave an imprint somewhere or in somebody," Pastor Clay Evans said on "Heart and Soul" in June 2019.

Leave an imprint he did. The interview was to be the last time we heard from Pastor Clay Evans, the founder of one of Chicago's historic black churches. His loss is felt not only at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church where he served for 50 years, but across the city.

"He was a leading servant of God, a man of great faith, a servant's servant, a leader's leader, and a friend to all of mankind," said Rev. Charles Jenkins, Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church.

Evans was a man of God, but he was also a gospel singer whose rousing Sunday services became famous. He was also a noted civil rights leader who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, welcoming him to the city at a time when many religious leaders disapproved of King's campaign. His support came at a price.

"His building permit for this church was held up because he would not disavow Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. when he came to the City of Chicago," Rev. Leon Finney recalled.

Funeral services for Pastor Evans are scheduled for December 6 and 7 at Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church.
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