Charlie Clark, Jr.
Pastor Charlie Merchant Clark, Jr.
On October 6, 1933, Charlie Merchant Clark, Jr., the fourth child of five children, was born to Mamie Clark and Charlie Merchant, Norfolk, VA. His siblings were Leonard Clark, Lorraine Cooper, Hattie Mae Whitehead and Bobby Clark.
He joined the Navy in 1952, in Norfolk, Virginia, as a Steward Mate, SN (Seaman). After boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, he was stationed aboard the USS Leyte where he began his naval career. He often recalled that on the ship when he saw the water “coming out of the wall” (shower) and was offered “all the food he could eat”, he immediately said, “Where do I sign up again? Give me all the time you can!” He met and married Delma.
He was the father of four daughters, Norma Brinker (Eric), Paula Milner (Eric), Kecia Woods (Kenny) and Delia Carroll (Clarence) and three sons, Melvin Patterson (Divina), Monty (Diane) and Christopher (Rachel), one stepdaughter, Debra Davis (Parnell) and one daughter-in-love, Carrie Clark. He had 17 grandchildren and 10 great grandchildren. He had a profound love for all of his family and always said, “I thank God for all my children.” Throughout the years, he has been the spiritual father to many.
Charlie Clark united with St. Stephen's Cathedral Church of God in Christ in 1964. Over the years, he served as one of the Assistant Pastors at St. Stephen’s, Church Administrator, Sunday School Teacher/ Superintendent, Crisis Counselor, Director of the Southeast Counseling Services, Director of Phoebe House, Facilities Manager, Co-Chairperson of the Anniversary Committee, Church Calendar Coordinator, Coordinator of the bookstore, Vacation Bible School Coordinator, Tape Ministry Administrator and Overseer of the Youth Department and other duties as assigned.
After 28 years of faithful service in the United States Navy, he retired as a Senior Chief Petty Officer and immediately enrolled in Berean Bible College, graduating with a BA Degree in Theology. He later earned a Masters of Theology Degree at Bethel Theological Seminary West (San Diego Campus). Pastor Clark was an Instructor for the "Rights of Passage", C.H. Mason University, San Diego Campus, St. Stephen’s Christian School, Berean Bible College and the Interdenominational Theological Center (ITC) Seminary (offsite in San Diego). He was in his first year of his Ph.D. studies when his health began to fail.
In 1978 he married the love of his life, his soul mate, Maxine Miller Bluford. She was the apple of his eye. There was nothing he would not do for his “Macktine”. He adored her and showered her with love and flowers, “yellow roses” to be exact. When she was a little too much for him sometimes, he would say that “her gravy was all over his potatoes”, but that he loved gravy too—so there was never any issue left unsolved. Charlie called Maxine his “Prime Rib” and “the joy of his life”. They reveled in being together with some of their most favorite times being when they would drive across the country.
Pastor Clark organized and led the first street witnessing ministry at St. Stephen’s (later named, "The Block Busters"). He was the organizer and minister of the St. Stephen’s Jail Ministry for San Diego County, Chula Vista and El Cajon facilities and also ministered at Campo, Las Colinas and Juvenile Hall. He served as a Chaplain at Donovan Prison, Green Oak Ranch, and Sharp and Paradise Valley Hospitals. Pastor Clark ministered at the San Diego Rescue Mission for 25 years and at the House of Metamorphosis for 26 years. He was the first “Angel Tree” organizer and twice served as the Coordinator of the Interdenominational Balboa Easter Sunrise Service.
As mentioned earlier, Pastor Clark’s path eventually was directed to Community Christian Church of San Diego (now Fairmount Community Church) when its congregates began seeking a “Preaching” Pastor. Pastor Clark and Maxine, his wife of 39 years, accepted the call and he pastored there for ten years until his health begin to fail, necessitating his retirement on “February 28, 2006”. He leaves to mourn relatives and a host of loved ones, spiritual children and friends. GOD BE PRAISED!