The Rev. Dr. Gloria Jean Clark, 59 of Benton Harbor went home to be with the Lord November 17, 2019, at Bronson Methodist Hospital, Kalamazoo.
Rev. Dr. Gloria Jean Clark was the second of five children born to the late Sam and Ura Jean Smith, in Benton Harbor Michigan on March 3, 1960. Gloria was reared in a household where Christian values, education, hard work and the love and support of family were a priority and these attributes became the foundation on which she built her life.
Gloria accepted Christ as her personal Savior, at Union Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church, at an early age. She was active in the local church throughout her childhood and young adult life. During this time she served in various capacities in the church, she sang with the youth choir and later became instrumental in founding the Inspirational Voices, she taught Sunday School, YPD director, Youth league cheerleading coach, a member of the nurses guild and served as the assistant church secretary.
Gloria matriculated through the Benton Harbor Area School System and graduated from Benton Harbor High School with the great class of 1978. While attending a graduation celebration with her class Gloria met and two years later married the love of her life Otis Edward Clark III, on August 17th, 1980. Together they raised four children, Otis IV, Dondrell, Lettia and Leona instilling the same godly principles and moral expectations in each of their children. Gloria had immense love and passion for young people and became a staple in the lives of many children and young adults.
In 1990 Gloria accepted her call into Christian ministry under the leadership of Pastor Alfred Johnson. As she moved through the process of the Michigan Conference Board of Examiners, Gloria completed her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education from Andrews University, in Berrien Springs Michigan and began her teaching career in Benton Harbor Area Schools. In 1992, there was a need and Bishop James Haskell Mayo recognized the gifts and graces in Gloria and before she was ordained, appointed her as supply pastor to Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church, Calvin Center, MI. During the 107th Session of the Michigan Annual Conference, she was ordained an Itinerate Deacon in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and received an official appointment as Pastor of Bethel Calvin Center. In 1994 during the 109th Session of the Michigan Annual Conference Rev. Gloria was ordained an Itinerate Elder in the African Methodist Episcopal Church.
While pastoring her first charge, raising a family and teaching Rev. Gloria embraced 2 Timothy 2:15, …” study to show thyself approved…” and enrolled in Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston Illinois. After overcoming many obstacles and challenges she proudly earned her Masters of Divinity in 1998. Over the next 25 years, Rev. Gloria blazed her own path in ministry, pastoring Bethel AME Church Calvin Center, MI, Connor Mayo AME Church, Dowagiac Michigan, Tabernacle AME Church, Idlewild MI, St. Matthew AME Church, Detroit MI and Allen Chapel AME Church, Kalamazoo MI, respectively. Rev Gloria was a firm believer that with God all things are possible while pastoring St. Matthew in Detroit she enrolled in Ecumenical Theological Seminary. During her studies at Ecumenical, she was appointed as Pastor to Allen Chapel, Kalamazoo. Even with the transition and becoming acquainted in her new community Rev. Gloria successfully completed course work to obtain her Doctorate of Divinity in 2014.
Rev. Dr. Gloria served on various committees, board, and auxiliaries both in the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the communities in which she has pastor and was a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc.
Rev. Gloria lived the life she preached about, being loving, compassionate, forgiving and faithful. She loved God first and foremost and she loved His church and His people. The impact and the legacy that she leaves behind is one that will be remembered forever.
She leaves to cherish her memory and live out her legacy, her devoted husband of 40 years, Otis E. Clark III, of Benton Harbor, MI. Five children, Leona Tucker of Monroe, NC; Tamika Meeks of Kansas City, MO; Otis Kynte(Joi) Clark IV of Detroit, MI; Lettia Nichols of Benton Harbor, MI; and Dondrell Clark of Detroit, MI; Twelve grandchildren Glorian Gonzales, Casenia Tucker, Timothy Nichols Jr., Aniya Clark, Jaia Clark, Rashard Clark, Amare Nichols, Otis Edris Clark V, Trayvonna Meeks, Trayvon Sterling, Juvon Hill and Glennisha Hawkins, two great-grandchildren; three brothers Sam (Donna)Smith III of St. Paul MN; Adrian Smith of West Memphis AR; Roderic Smith of Grand Rapids MI and her one and only sister DeeAnn Parker (Chris) Jakes of Benton Harbor, MI.; four god-children, Alycha Dorsett, Passion Wallace, Alana Townes and Michael Ealey, and a special niece Morgan Clark along with a host of aunts, uncles, cousins, relatives and friends. She was preceded in death by her parents Sam and Ura Jean Smith and her grandparents A.D. and Florette Parker.
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