Clarence Sutton, Sr. was called to be the founding Pastor of the Christian Community Church, Tuscaloosa, Alabama in 1978. Along with his wife, Gwendolyn Sutton and their three children, Clarence Jr., Candace, and Carmen, and six others who worshipped in his living room on the first Sunday in November 1978. This small gathering of believers gave birth to Christian Community Church a Non-Denominational fellowship. Christian: because they follow the teachings of Jesus Christ; Community: because they hold in common the faith of all who believe that Jesus is Lord and Savior; and Church: because the Gospel is preached and the Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion are duly served. Pastor Sutton believes that the Church should meet the needs of the human experience from the cradle to the grave.
Pastor Sutton understands that the calling to ministry requires preparation. He has equipped himself for the work of the ministry. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Alabama State University, Montgomery, Alabama (1967), A Master of Science degree from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama (1973), He studied at the Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana (1977), Birmingham Theological Seminary, Birmingham, Alabama, and Trinity College and Seminary, Manipur, Indiana. His varied background in Christendom has given him everything he needs to lead a nondenominational congregation. He was raised in the Baptist tradition; he pastored of eight years in the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church; and studied at the Church of Christ (Disciples of Christ) Seminary for one year.
Pastor Sutton was licensed to preach in 1972 and ordained as Elder in 1973. He is committed to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and preaches and teaches with power and conviction. His lifestyle and daily actions are testament to two of his favorite Scriptures, Psalms 68:19 and II Peter 1:3. He often quotes in Hebrew: Bless you Lord God, who daily carries my burdens, the God of my salvation. Also, he often says and reminds the congregation to say, By Divine power He has given us everything we need for life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and goodness. His excitement and enthusiasm for life is contagious.
Pastor Sutton developed a vision for Christian Community Church through teaching that the Church moves in four directions at the same time: Worship-Mission-Education-Service. With this vision in mind, every member is taught and expected to work out their soul’s salvation in one or more of these directions for the Church. Pastor Sutton puts to practice what he preaches about the church meeting the needs of the human experience from the cradle to the grave. He along with his wife who is an educator instituted the Christian Community Church learning Center, a State licensed Daycare Center that believes that all children can learn, the sooner the better. The daycare has an outstanding reputation in the community. He also the founded a non-profit organization called Haven on Earth, Inc. that provides counseling, aide and assistance to individuals who have fallen into difficulty. The Haven also umbrellas a mentoring/tutorial program called “Real Men” in the Middle Schools for eight grade boys. This program is designed to lower the drop-out rate among African American males.
Pastor Sutton is a community leader who serves as Chairman of the Board of the Jesus Way Homeless Shelter, serves on the West Alabama HIV Board, and is a member of the Diversity Committee with the Tuscaloosa City schools. He has also served as President of the Tuscaloosa County Chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference