Dennis Clark retires after 40 years as pastor
For 40 years Pastor Dennis Clark has served countless of people during their most memorable and difficult moments of their lives. On Sunday, Clark spent his final day behind a pulpit as he makes the journey to retirement.
Clark, who conducted his first wedding and funeral the summer of 1969, spent 28 years preaching in Guthrie. In between two 14-year stints in Guthrie, Clark served seven years in Denver.
Clark’s wife, Cathy, will also be leaving as the church’s choir director.
“I have ministered to many individuals and families in their times of grief and crisis. I never use the phrase: ‘You just have to accept this as God’s will for your life,’ Clark said. ” I have always considered myself a pastor first and a preacher second. The ministry of presence is being with those who are going through difficult times. Every Christian can share in the ministry of presence.”
Clark was a sophomore in college teaching a Sunday school class and was asked to preach a sermon. It was that moment when Clark realized that was his path in life.
“I realized I had a gift for preaching and pastoral ministry. I was encouraged by several in the congregation to pursue this high calling.”
Several shared their thanks through social media as well as in a retirement ceremony following the Sunday morning worship.
Debbie Gumerson in a post said, “You have meant more to our family than words can ever express. You have been with us as a spiritual leader, preformed baptisms, weddings, and been with us in times of joy and sorrow. We will miss you deeply.Enjoy your retirement. Love and blessings!!”
“Dennis you are so special and I cannot begin to thank you for your service to so many people. You have meant so much to me and to my family. God bless you as you begin your next chapter of your amazing life,” Linda Lundquist said.
Now, just a few hours into retirement, Clark is not certain of his plans, but looks forward to enjoying more time with his family.
“I have nothing set in concrete for my retirement yet. My plans for retirement will be made during the first few months after leaving the ministry at First Christian Church. I think I am going to enjoy having the freedom to make decisions that mainly include my family. I have had a very long blessed ministry of which I am grateful and know that this is the right time for me to retire. I am certain that, as in the past, God will lead me where I will be effective for the rest of my life.”