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Pastor-congressman changes church role

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) -- Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, a Missouri Democrat who is also a Methodist minister, says he will be taking a smaller role at the church he has led for more than 35 years.

Cleaver said April 6 that the Rev. Emanuel Cleaver III will become co-pastor at the St. James United Methodist Church on July 1. The younger Cleaver is expected to become senior pastor in two years.

Cleaver, a first-term congressman, has tried to balance serving as pastor and lawmaker, but said the congregation needs a full-time pastor.

The congregation says it has more than 2,000 members and holds services in a 1,000-person sanctuary. Cleaver, 63, was a two-term Kansas City mayor and earned a master's degree in 1974 from St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City.