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Published: Monday, 4/24/2006

District church superintendent ministered in Africa, Denmark

The Rev. David Nelson Clark, 89, whose ministry took him around the world and who was a district superintendent of the Christian and Missionary Alliance for 21 years, died Friday.

The location and cause of death were not known.

Mr. Clark and his wife, the late Ruth E. Clark of South Toledo, were both affiliated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance for many years. The family came to Toledo in 1966, when Mr. Clark relocated the alliance's district office to the city.

The Rev. Jeff Brown, who is the current district superintendent, said Mr. Clark was always "a very godly man and very serious about his relationship with the Lord."

Mr. Brown, who will conduct the funeral service, said Mr. Clark "was living all his life to spend eternity with the Lord. His eyes would often well up with tears when he spoke of the Lord."

Mr. Clark was born in Pittsburgh. He graduated from the former Missionary Training Institute in Nyack, N.Y., in 1939.

He was ordained to the ministry in the Christian and Missionary Alliance in 1941. His ministries included pastorates in Sandusky, Bowling Green, and Highland Park, Mich.

Mr. Clark and his wife married in 1943. The couple moved periodically as Mr. Clark served churches in Sandusky, Highland Park, Mich., and Bowling Green. They went together to the Army bases where he was assigned as a chaplain.

He was on active duty on Tinian and Iwo Jima from 1944-46 and remained on reserve duty until 1976. He was promoted to the rank of colonel in 1972. Shortly before his retirement, he was awarded the Legion of Merit.

While he was district superintendent of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Mr. Clark spent eight of those years in the district that included the western half of Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, Indiana, southern Illinois, and southern Missouri.

The last 13 years were in the district that included Kentucky, the western half of Ohio, and Michigan's Lower Peninsula.

Mr. Brown said Mr. Clark remained very active in the church after his retirement and served last year as a church elder for First Alliance Church.

From 1978 to 1980, Mr. and Mrs. Clark were in Kinshasa, capital of what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo, where they performed ministerial duties at the International Church there.

He also ministered on short-term visits to Gabon, Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Mali, and Denmark.

Mr. Clark served on the boards of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, Nyack College, Beulah Beach Camp Corp., and also Toledo Christian Schools, for which he served as its president from 1998-99.

The Rev. Keith Sholl, senior pastor at First Alliance on Monroe Street at Collingwood Boulevard, said Mr. Clark had a talent for helping others see God in all things.

Mr. Clark had been pastor emeritus at the church and was active in leading fund-raising campaigns for the church's expansion and renovation projects.

"He was able to see what perhaps most others couldn't see in the work God was doing among a group or congregation," Pastor Sholl said. Mr. Clark, he said, "cast that vision that brought faith into people's hearts."

Throughout his life, Mr. Clark had a deep commitment to a life of prayer, and he shared that commitment with others, Mr. Sholl said.

Surviving are his son, Ernest E. Clark; daughter, Elinor Roush; six grandchildren, and one great-grandson.

The body will be in the Walker Funeral Home, 5155 W. Sylvania Ave., after 2 p.m. Tuesday.

Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m. Wednesday at First Alliance Church, 2201 Monroe St.

The family suggests tributes to the First Alliance Church Mortgage Fund.

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