Rev. Clay Evans, the legendary Pastor of Fellowship Chicago affectionately called “The Ship” has passed. He was 94.
The Gospel Icon and civil rights activist founded Fellowship after being ordained a minister in 1950. The church got the nickname “The Ship,” because of Evans’ longtime quote: “Its a friendship, its a kinship, its a relationship, what a fellowship, all aboard come on let’s go to the other side.”
Pastor Charles Jenkins, who took over as Pastor of Fellowship in 2000 after Evans retired, confirmed the news on social media Wednesday afternoon.
“My hero, the Rev. Clay Evans has gone to sleep eternally and is now in the presence of God.
Rev. Clay Evans founded Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in 1950, where he served for 50 years. His most famous mantra was “It is no secret what God can do.” He will forever be a beloved husband, father, brother, grandfather, great grandfather, uncle, family patriarch and church father.”
He will forever be known as a civil rights leader (who worked closely with Dr. Martin Luther King and Reverend Jesse Jackson), gospel music pioneer, civic leader, community staple, and trusted counselor to all including Presidents, Governors, Mayors, and anyone in need of advice.
Born in Brownsville, Tennessee, he moved to Chicago in June 1945, at age 20, with plans to be an undertaker. After founding Fellowship, he became a soloist and performed on the legendary choir’s gospel records.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Fellowship Chicago Thursday Dec. 5th thru Saturday, Dec. 7th.