Pastor Portraits: Rev. L. Dale Clark

Pastor Portraits: Rev. L. Dale Clark

Clark
The Lord began with me in 1955 knitting me in my mother’s womb. He saw my safe arrival into this world on March 5, 1956, in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. My grandparents came to Canada from the United States to homestead, and I was the firstborn son of my parents. I grew up as any Canadian boy playing hockey and baseball as a youth. I lived at the same address in Edmonton until my marriage to Sandra Adamson.

Before we got married however, God needed to get ahold of me. I grew up in the United Church of Canada. It is the most liberal church in Canada. I knew the stories of the Bible but not its reality. I quit going to church at 16; after all, Dad didn’t go to church so why should I? God used my sister to begin the process of bringing me the gospel. As an agnostic, I loved to debate and I would do so with my sister, who was a member of a Pentecostal Church. She eventually abandoned this project, but God hadn’t abandoned me. I met Sandra when my friend married Sandra’s sister. Sandra then took up the spiritual challenge and, in exasperation, she challenged me to read the Bible. I knew the stories but had never read the Bible. So I began to read the Bible, at least most of the New Testament, as I rode the bus to work that summer. By the end of summer I had submitted myself in faith to Christ Jesus, laying hold of a righteousness not my own. I joined the church where Sandra was born and raised, Crestwood Presbyterian Church, a congregation in the Presbyterian Church of America. Sandra and I married after completing our university degrees in 1980.

Through a number of circumstances, I sensed God’s call to the ministry. We left Edmonton to pursue a seminary education in 1983. We arrived from Edmonton to a summer of heat and humidity in St. Louis. The evening temperatures didn’t drop below 80 degrees until well into September. After three years in St. Louis at Covenant Seminary, I was examined and ordained to the gospel ministry by the Presbytery of the Pacific Northwest of the Presbyterian Church in America on January 29, 1988. I completed my internship in my home church in Edmonton.

I first served a rural church in southern Alberta out of the bounds of Presbytery for two years. The contract ended and I was encouraged to make contact with Don Vance in the RCUS. I wrote a letter to Rev. Vance, who passed it on to Rev. Herman Van Stedum. Eventually, I was called by the Minot congregation.

I started serving in the Minot Reformed Church (now Harvest) in April of 1992. My first experience with catechizing was here. Those poor first students were guinea pigs; however, I did learn a good lesson. High school was too late in our culture to begin catechism, especially a program as involved as that of the RCUS. I was slowly beginning to understand the wisdom of the confirmation program.

We moved to Chico, California, in 1997, just making it out of the Dakotas before a major storm hit. The storm delayed our household goods for a week. After four and a half years in California, the Eureka Reformed Church called me and we came back to the Midwest in 2001. I had no sooner gotten to Eureka and off to a special Classis meeting which had been called. As Elder Willis Schnabel and I drove to the meeting in Herreid we heard the news that a plane had hit the World Trade Center. It wasn’t until later in the day that we found out that this was a terrorist attack. I was elected as the President of Classis at that meeting, a position which I held until 2006.

In June 2006, we left Eureka and moved to Minot. I was without a charge and so I worked at Wal-Mart. In 2007 Kassel Reformed Church called me and I labored there and at Wal-Mart until March of 2012. We had purchased a home in Minot, and in 2011 we experienced the worst flood in Minot’s history. I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone for their prayers for us and your help financially as we rebuilt our home. Although we are not living in Minot now, our son is still living there in what will likely be our retirement home.

Most recently I have been called to serve in Dickinson. The Northern Plains Classis started a Bible Study in 2010 with the aim of seeing if there was enough interest to start a church. In January 2012 we started worship services and in March I arrived to start the ministry in earnest. We currently have 5 member families.

Sandra and I have four children—two music teachers and two nurses, stretching from Alaska to Kansas. Our oldest son is married and has two children. I marvel at the journey on which that the Lord has taken Sandra and me. We are learning to be pilgrims in this life, resting on the guidance of our gracious Lord.

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