Mother Clara Atwater died August 2, 2021. She was 86 years old. Atwater founded Love Tabernacle Church where she served as pastor; and Gingerbread Land, Inc., a nonprofit organization reaching out to those in need of support, guidance, and love. She started her ministry after relocating to Milwaukee from Detroit in the early 1960s. She was a Black Excellence Award honoree at the 35th annual Black Excellence Awards as sponsored by The Milwaukee Times and WISNTV Channel 12 in 2020. Pastor Atwater also broadcasted a radio show five days a week for more than 50 years on WBLB-AM 1560 radio.
“She was truly unique in her ministry,” said Pastor Toussaint Harris who is president and executive director of Gingerbread Land as well as the oldest grandson of Pastor Atwater. “She literally fed and clothed thousands during her life.”
Since its founding in 1989, thousands have been assisted through Gingerbread Land, Inc., which includes seven houses near North First and West Burleigh streets. The units are occupied by recovering drug addicts, persons with physical and mental disabilities, and several people in need of temporary shelter. It has been a safe haven for the residents as they attend Love Tabernacle Church.
“People have seen what we do, how we do it and how we do it, and they support us,” Pastor Atwater said in her interview for the 35th Annual Black Excellence Awards. “Many of the young people that we took off the streets and embraced at Gingerbread Land are now professionals— teachers and the like. They also support our efforts, come back and visit and recount how not one of them living on the block and visiting Gingerbread Land ended up dying to violence.”
Public viewing will be held at Leon Williamson Funeral Home, 2157 N. 12th St., on Wednesday, August 11, 2021, from 4-7 p.m. Funeral services will be held at Greater Mt. Sinai, 5384 N. 60th St., Thursday, August 12, 2021 at 11 a.m.