Dickerson, Church Move Forward

December 22, 2008 2:04:38 PM PST
The pastor says it's time to move forward and continue spreading God's word.Hundreds of people packed into Pearly Grove Baptist Church Sunday morning.

Many came to worship, but most say they came to see Pastor Charles Dickerson and congratulate him on his recent acquittal on sexual abuse charges.

"We just got our victory back. We're just overwhelmed. It's like can't even explain right now. We're just ready to scream finally," said Kendra Williams, family member.

Sixteen months have passed since this congregation learned of the charges Dickerson faced.

After the accusers withdrew their testimony, a jury cleared Dickerson of all charges.

The senior pastor says the support of his congregation helped him make it through this faith-testing time.

"This church never wavered. They never doubted, never seconded guessed my integrity or my character," said Dickerson.

But Dickerson says he hopes those who do question him will look to the facts of the case.

One of Dickerson's nieces says it was important to not judge her uncle until all the facts were available.

"They just need to come to church and see what it's all about. Just come here and finally see for yourself instead of hearing what the next person is saying. Just come and get a feel for yourself."

And the feeling inside the cozy little church in southwest Fresno was as positive as Dickerson's message.

"Stay humble. Try not to let you hear what people say about you get in the way. And keep pressing forward," said Marques Jones, church member.

"I think our commitment to do ministry is stronger and greater than ever," said Dickerson.

As for those plans to expand, Dickerson says he hopes to have the "Next Level Christian Academy," an elementary school opened by fall next year.


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