A Triumphant Return for Pastor Charles Dickerson

December 22, 2008 2:04:30 PM PST
A big crowd greeted Charles Dickerson on his first day to preach since the verdict.Over 400 people attended church here this morning.

All of them wanted to welcome back their leader, the man who was just acquitted of all sexual abuse charges? Pastor Charles Dickerson.

Pastor Charles Dickerson is preaching for the first time at Pearly Grove Baptist Church since a jury cleared him of sex abuse charges.

16 months ago, Dickerson was charged with 8 counts against 2 teenage girls.

Charles Dickerson: "I don't think I've ever been as excited to be in church as I was today."

And members of his congregation say they were excited to help Dickerson celebrate his victory as well.

Barbara McDowell, Church Member: "I truly missed him and I'm glad that he's back in power and I thank god everyday."

Marques Jones, Church Member: "He's like a father to me. So this is just a new beginning a new year. Everybody's starting fresh."

When members of the congregation learned of the sexual abuse accusations many say they were torn between what to believe.

Barbara McDowell says she kept to her faith.

McDowell: "I like to give everybody the benefit of the doubt, wait and find out what actually happened."

Pastor Dickerson spent much of Sunday afternoon surrounded by pastors and his attorney after service.

Dickerson says support from his church and congregation helped him and his family make it through this difficult time.

Charles Dickerson: "They've prayed for us, loved us, never judged either side. But was just a unwavering support."

And that support echoed through song and worship of god.

Marques Jones: "This is a blessing. This is just to show people that god is real."

As for Dickerson's future, he says the church owns 10 acres across the street so he plans to develop that land.

He wants to turn it into a community center, build a new house of worship, and an elementary school.


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