The Pentecostal Outreach Church in Buena Vista has a new pastor.
The church’s Board of Trustees voted last week to remove Larry Clark.
Police arrested Clark multiple times in November and December of 2013 and charged him with sex crimes with children.
Steve Ramsey of Madison Heights has been appointed Pastor and Bishop of the Pentecostal Outreach Church. Ramsey has been serving as interim since December.
The church reached out to WDBJ 7 and for the first time, we are hearing from its leaders.
“It was 100%,” said Ramsey about the decision to remove Clark. “It was a bad situation and it’s time to put the past behind us.”
The Pentecostal Outreach Church is looking for a fresh start.
Claude Carter is a deacon at the church. He said the decision to remove Clark was not an easy one, but said the church community felt it was the right time to close this chapter and start a new one with a new pastor.
"Our church has been going on pretty good, but outside of the church there's so much talk,” said Carter.
For more than ten years, Larry Clark has been a leader in the community and church, but things took a turn for the worse when investigators accused him of sex crimes with children.
"Oh lord, it was just like someone stuck a sword in your heart,” said Carter. “The man was such a good pastor, a good preacher."
Now, there's a new pastor in town.
Ramsey was recently appointed by the church's board of trustees, deacon board and congregation.
Carter said it's a step in the right direction for everyone.
"He is an experienced preacher, he is good preacher, he is a good man and I've never heard anything against him."
Ramsey has been in ministry for 11 years. He was an Associate Pastor with the Church of God and currently pastors Harvest Fields Pentecostal Outreach Church in Madison Heights.
The decision to replace Clark doesn't mean members of the congregation have turned their backs on him. Carter said most people believe he is innocent and right now they are waiting for the justice system to run its course.
"People are going to say what they want to say,” said church member Margaret Staton. “But if you know him, then you know he didn't do it. I don't think I would believe if he told me he did it."
Carter told WDBJ 7 Clark will be welcomed in the church when he is released from jail.
“Nobody is going to put their foot on him because to me the man has done so much for Rockbridge County,” said Carter.
A grand jury will consider the charges against Clark in May. If he is indicted, the case will go to trial after that.