Jul 28, 2011

(AJC) The Rev. Howard Creecy Jr., president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, died early Thursday morning, a spokesman for the SCLC confirmed.

Creecy, pastor of Olivet Church in Fayette County, died of a heart attack at around 12:30 a.m. in Atlanta, Damien Conners of the Atlanta SCLC office told the AJC.

Creecy, 57, was elected SCLC president in January after Bernice King, daughter of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., declined the position. Before that, Creecy had served as the interim president of the civil rights organization founded by Martin King and other civil rights leaders in 1957.

When he took the helm on Jan. 30, Creecy acknowledged that the SCLC had suffered internal divisions in recent years. His mission, he said, was to help define the direction of the group in the 21st century.

For 26 years Creecy was senior pastor at St. Peter’s Missionary Baptist Church in Atlanta before joining his father at Olivet Church in 2002. He became pastor at Olivet when the elder Creecy died in 2008.

The Rev. Gregory Sutton, pastor of Atlanta’s Jackson Memorial Baptist Church, described himself and Creecy as “best friends” who had known one another since their teenage years.

“We started out in the ministry together,” Sutton said. “I was looking for a young friend, my equal, and we met and we’ve been friends since, and that was back in 1971.”

He said that Creecy had hoped to “put SCLC back on the map. He was trying his best to revitalize and to put it back to where it needed to be.”


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