Kwame Kilpatrick to preach Sunday in Detroit. He plans to remarry and become a minister

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
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Kwame Kilpatrick is coming home this weekend, and a large part of that visit will involve a visit to a house of worship, where the disgraced former mayor of Detroit will preach a message of redemption.

Now living in Atlanta, Kilpatrick is scheduled to take the pulpit Sunday at the Historic Little Rock Baptist Church in Detroit. He also plans to remarry and study for the ministry, according to an interview he gave to Deadline Detroit.

Kilpatrick, 51, served more than seven years of a 28-year prison sentence for corruption crimes before being  released from federal prison in January by former President Donald Trump, who commuted his sentence.

Kwame Kilpatrick seen on social media earlier this week.

Kilpatrick will preach during the 10 a.m. service Sunday at the church at 9000 Woodward. The Rev. James Holley, the senior pastor of Little Rock for past 43 years, said Tuesday that the ex-mayor will deliver a message of hope and second chances.

"Based on interviews about his (Christian) conversion ... it's worth telling," Holley said Tuesday. "We want people to know God can make a change in people's lives."

Holley said Kilpatrick isn't yet ordained but does have a ministry about redemption, forgiveness and prison reform that he will preach about Sunday. Historic Little Rock is one of two churches where he is expected to preach.

"... it's going to be my hometown debut," Kilpatrick told Deadline Detroit for a story published Tuesday. "This is the first time that I've done anything public since getting out of prison."

The church will be open to the public. Its capacity is 1,400 but Holley said he is limiting attendance to 800 for Kilpatrick's appearance

Holley said he met with Kilpatrick when the former mayor visited Detroit a couple of months ago and discussed having the former politician speak at the church.

Holley said he appreciates that Kilpatrick will deliver his sermon, one of his first since being released from prison, at his church, saying there were many others the former mayor could have chosen.

Holley said he will record the sermon, which also will be livestreamed through the church's website, to take to prisoners so that they can learn about the power of redemption and making a new life outside prison walls.

Under Trump's commutation, Kilpatrick’s prison sentence was reduced but his 24 felony convictions remain. The former mayor has to pay back $195,000 owed to the Internal Revenue Service and $1.5 million to Detroit.

Kilpatrick, who celebrated a birthday Tuesday, told Deadline Detroit he plans to remarry and has given up politics. He is divorced from his first wife, Carlita.

"I know that's what I'm supposed to be doing," Kilpatrick told Deadline Detroit, saying his religious journey includes studying at a theological seminary school at Columbia University in the fall. "I can't imagine doing anything else for the rest of my life."

Kilpatrick told the website he doesn't want to focus on his past. He also denied taking part in bid-rigging for city contracts, but admitted to some wrongdoing.

He did not go into details, saying, "I'm really in a position now where I just hope that people see the fruit of my repentance from that."

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