Abyssinian Baptist Church holds 1st Sunday service since Dr. Calvin Butt's death

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Sunday, October 30, 2022
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Members of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem will hold their first Sunday service without the longtime pastor, Reverend Dr. Calvin Butts, who died on Friday. Chantee Lans has more.

HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Members of Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem held their first Sunday service without the longtime pastor, Reverend Dr. Calvin Butts, who died on Friday.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams ordered flags across all five boroughs to be lowered to half-staff.

The church will be holding viewings for the reverend on Thursday, November 3, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Friday, November 4, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by a homegoing celebration on Friday at 2 p.m.

Anyone wishing to pay tribute to Dr. Butts can do so at the church's website.

Mourning across the city is underway, but the pain is nothing compared to the reverend's family and the church community.

Revered Dr. Calvin Butts was a longtime political and social activist.

He was a nationwide staple, a champion for the underserved and Black community.

His Baptist church home was at the historic Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem.

The church has not released a cause of death, but several officials say Butts was battling cancer.

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He was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut in 1949.

He joined Abyssinian as a youth minister in 1972 and later became the senior pastor.

Former Governor David Patterson spoke out about him constantly being a voice for the voiceless.

"He was there for victims such as Randolph Evans, Michael Stewart, Eleanor Bumpurs, and Clifford Glover, there were a lot of those incidents and those cases, and he was always there standing up for accountability from the police department," Patterson said.

Sunday will be the first church service without Butts and will likely be an emotional service for many.

The Butts Family and Abyssinian Baptist Church asked for prayers.

Back in 2015, Bill Ritter spoke with Rev. Butts on an episode of Up Close. You can watch it here.

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