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An advocate for the outcast, Anniston pastor Dale Clem announces retirement

Dale Clem

Dale Clem is pastor at First United Methodist Church in Anniston. Church leaders are set to vote later this year on a split that would allow traditionalists -- who don't want to recognize gay marriage and gay clergy -- to form their own denomination. (Photo by Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)

Strangers are unopened books to the Rev. Dale Clem, each with chapters to devour and stories to absorb. Strangers aren’t strangers to him. They’re people, flesh and blood, members of a collective world, whether white or black or gay or straight or absurdly rich or demonstrably poor. 

That belief is as central to Clem as is his soothing voice and shock of white hair and gentle approach.

Respectful gesture

The Rev. Dale Clem, new pastor at First United Methodist Church in Anniston, participates in a prayer during an event where local church leaders and others were invited to celebrate Ramadan at the Anniston Islamic Center late Thursday afternoon. 

Star Talk - Episode 07 - Rev. Dale Clem

Phillip Tutor — — is a Star columnist. Follow him at