Rich in friendship. Pastor Rich Wilkerson Jr. stopped by the Today show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb on Monday, Dec. 7, where he discussed how he became “great friends” with proud second-time parents Kim Kardashian and Kanye West.
Wilkerson, 31, a fourth-generation pastor who lives in Miami, caught the public’s attention last May when he was dubbed the “hot pastor” who officiated Kardashian and West’s lavish 2014 nuptials in Florence, Italy. The religious leader and his wife, DawnChere Wilkerson, are starring in their new Oxygen docuseries called Rich in Faith, which will detail what it’s like to serve their Miami congregation. The executive producer of the series is none other than their fellow Christian pal Jason Kennedy, who grew up with Wilkerson in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
“It wasn’t a case of them marrying Kim and Kanye and we wanted to get a reality show on air,” said the E! News host, who joined the Wilkersons on the Today show on Monday. “It was already in the works.” Kennedy also teamed up with his former fellow E! host, Giuliana Rancic, for the endeavor.
Pastor Rich and his wife met the superstar duo “a few years ago,” when they “just came to church.” At the time, Wilkerson was on staff with his father at Trinity Church. “Kanye came to one of the services. I think people think it’s crazy, but we just became friends. We still are. We are great friends and we talk often. It was at their engagement that it was a natural progression to say, ‘Hey, would you be a part of that special day.’ So for us, it was a huge honor to get to be there. . . . Anyone loves a good wedding, and we also talked about Jesus, which is who we serve. I think, for us, what we weren’t prepared for was that anybody cared that we were at their wedding.”
(In other Kimye news, the couple announced the religion-inspired name of their newborn baby son, Saint, on Monday, Dec. 7.)
“Our goal is and has always been, ‘How can we bring light into some dark spaces?'” Wilkerson explained, of why he was opting to do reality television. “No. 1, I think everybody in their life has some type of drama. . . . But, for us, we stepped out this past year and started a brand-new church in the downtown Miami area. I think oftentimes people don’t understand what it takes to do that. . . . Also, I think people think that church is something that happens only on Sunday. But really it’s something that happens every day of the week. So we’re encountering individuals who deal with real struggles, real challenges, and how the church meets those needs.”
“Our life in ministry is not just on Sundays,” added his wife, who is also a preacher. “We believe that our faith impacts everything from our marriage to our family.”
Rich in Faith premieres on Oxygen this Wednesday, Dec. 9, at 10 p.m. ET.
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