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Councilman Jimmie L. Williams III opened his Pastor of the Quarter Presentation to Clifford H. McKinney, Sr., on October 26 on an uplifting note, saying, “This recognition is one of the wonderful ways we’re able to highlight those magnificent persons that are not recognized on a normal everyday basis but contribute so much to the community.”
He added, “It gives me extreme delight to present Pastor Clifford McKinney, who is the senior pastor and teacher at Greater New Mount Zion African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church on 4th Street. Pastor McKinney, my colleague in ministry, has done a wonderful job where he is,” said Councilman Williams, who is also a pastor in the AME Church. He continued, saying “So we have tried to bring encouragement from our level of government to continue to encourage our non-profits and churches that are the lifeline, at times, of our community.”
Councilman Williams presented a special journal and pen to McKinney, and read its cover inscription: “Pastor Clifford McKinney, in recognition of the important ministry you have provided to our community.”
McKinney is a Liberation theologian from Birmingham, Alabama. As a child, he had the honor of being a part of the Birmingham Campaign against racial injustice and inequality in the ‘60s directed by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After a career where he rose through the ranks to become an executive in the financial services field, he went to seminary in 2010, graduating with honors from Turner Theological Seminary on the campus of the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) in Atlanta. His first pastoral call was to Hurst Chapel AME Church in Miami (Perrine). He is a former board member of the Allocation Board of the United Way in Miami-Dade County.
Accepting the award with gratitude and grace, McKinney said, “I’m considered a neophyte here in the community. I’ve been here two years and two months. Most of you have probably seen me walking the streets of Homestead, passing out brochures. We like to teach children in the community how to play chess because it has been proven in so many schools around the United States that chess can teach children critical thinking and logical reasoning.”