Pastor Recalls Actress’ Cicely Tyson’s Faith, Regular Church Attendance
By Movieguide® Staff
Cicely Tyson, who died at the age of 96 on Jan. 28, was not only an award-winning actress but also a faithful churchgoer.
A public viewing will be held on Feb. 15 at Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York City to honor Tyson. According to her pastor, the Rev. Calvin Butts III, Tyson was a member at Abyssinian Baptist Church and attended every Sunday service as she was able.
Butts honored the late Tyson during his Sunday message: “I loved Cicely Tyson dearly. She was a dear friend to myself, to Mrs. Butts, to our entire church.”
Butts continued: “I describe her as a diva with grace. She carried herself as an actor of great renown. She didn’t take a back seat to anyone. She would not prostitute her gifts. She didn’t sell herself to the highest bidder. She wouldn’t take any role just to make the dollar. She sacrificed because of that, but she was a woman of great dignity, great spiritual strength, great faith.”
For the fellow members of Abyssinian Baptist Church, Tyson was another down-to-earth church member who did not flaunt her celebrity status.
“She had a place in our church where she would sit. She bought that pew in memory of her mother. We don’t sell pews so that people can sit in them, but she donated to our church and she asked that when she was here if she could sit there, and of course, we agreed,” Butts recalled.
“But she would come to church often and you wouldn’t even know she was here. She would not be as spectacular as she can be, she would just sit in the back and worship God. She was here every Sunday when she could be when she wasn’t working, traveling. She was a good member,” Butts said. “I believe she is enjoying the peace of Heaven. Cicely Tyson will be missed. Our hearts are broken and we are saddened, but she lived a triumphant life. She was God’s gift to us.”