Kingdom Love Center Ministries pastor Kim Carmichael dedicated her life to God and to her community, making an impact on the lives of everyone she met.
Carmichael, who held a Doctorate of Divinity from St. Thomas Christian College and founded Kingdom Love Center with her husband, Bishop Frankie Carmichael, died Wednesday. She was 59.
“She was the epitome of what a pastor is,” Carmichael’s niece Shatea Threadgill said. “Everything you would want, she was there to lead you, to guide you and be an example. She not only spoke the Word, she taught it, she lived it and she was an example.”
“Her assignment will be completed by everyone she came in contact with,” Annette Wagner said, who was a close friend of Carmichael’s and called herself her spiritual daughter. “We are her legacy and will always carry out those things that she has taught us.”
Carmichael was born and raised in New Haven, attending South Central Community College, (now Gateway Community Technical College), Vision Academy for Christian Leaders and Yale Divinity School. She founded the annual women’s conference Righteous Anointed Women and King’s Kids College, which is a youth summer program that combines academics, music, dance, praise and worship. She also founded the mentor program Dynamic Individual Victoriously Advancing, which helps young women ages 18 to 35 years old.
Wagner was introduced to Carmichael when Wagner came to New Haven in 1997 to begin a surgical residency and was taken in as a daughter during the roughest time of her life, Wagner said.
“She was always someone who was going to reach out as a nurturer and mother,” she said. “She was a special person in our family. She was the glue that brought everyone together.”
Wagner said whether through ministry or casual interactions with Carmichael, even just shopping with her in silence, there were things to be learned that everyone who knew her will carry. “She brought us all together, her spiritual children and her natural children.”
Carmichael was known for her style of preaching, her dedication to the ministry and work throughout the community, organizing events such as “Big Give,” which raised money to give to shoppers around Thanksgiving to pay for their dinners.
“The impact she made on the community was crazy and the amount of people that would gravitate naturally to her and respect her as a pastor, for her lifestyle and where she grew up,” church member Ronald Huggins said. “She knew how to take a message and meet people right where they were.” Huggins added that Carmichael was never ashamed of having grown up in the projects and didn’t let that define her. “She literally devoted her live to God, teaching and preaching.”
Carmichael’s younger brother Douglas Bethea said his sister’s faith in God was “unbelievable” and she was the strength of the family who took care of her brothers, sisters and mother. She used her past as an example to others that where one comes from doesn’t need to be where they finish, he said.
“It’s amazing the type of woman she was and I’m so proud to call her my sister,” Bethea said. “She gave, gave, gave. She was a pillar in the community, a matriarch in New Haven. She took care of everybody.”
Anyone who came to Carmichael and to the church was never turned away, no matter where they came from.
“No matter where you’ve seen her, you were able to approach her,” Threadgill said. “They’ll miss her presence as a whole.”
Some church members would say Carmichael “was a beast in preaching,” Wagner said, and a signature of Carmichael was her sayings, such as “marriage is not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” and “don’t be fooled by a feeling unless feeling like a fool.”
“If people were to put a title on her it would be ‘love,’” Threadgill said. “No matter who you were, she loved you. Through it all she still loved you and most of all, that’s what we’ll miss, the unconditional love. She’ll be not only remembered as a pastor and a mom but for being and example and just real.”
Carmichael also leaves husband Bishop Frankie Carmichael, sons P.J. Carmichael, Aquil Davidson, Mark Vereen and daughters Me’Shea Carmichael-Marks and Angela Newman, according to her obituary, as well as many nieces, nephews, brothers and sisters.