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Called to ministry

Born in 1962 in Dallas, Texas, Clark moved to Malvern, Arkansas with his family when he was five years old. After graduating from Malvern High School, Clark went on to attend Hendrix College in the early ‘80s (class of 1984). It was there on the campus of Conway’s beautiful liberal arts college that Clark decided to answer his call to ministry. “I had been really involved in the Methodist Church in Malvern, and I was actually the conference youth president at one time. So, I always thought I would be involved in some way with the church, but I never really thought I’d be called to be ordained in the church.” That call to ministry led Clark from Hendrix back to his roots in Texas, where he enrolled in seminary at Perkins School of Theology. Clark spent his seminary internship at Children’s Medical Center as a hospital chaplain for about a year and then spent 1987 to 1988 across the pond leading Methodist churches in the United Kingdom. “Methodism started in England. I got to preach in the same churches, and from the same pulpits, that John Wesley preached from, and that’s something I’ll never forget,” Clark said.

Top: A group of Hendrix College students and Rev. Wayne Clark pose with church members after laying tile at a United Methodist church in Guatemala. Bottom: Clark helps with construction work on a house during a mission trip to Vietnam. || Photos provided by Wayne Clark

Ministering to students

When Clark finally returned to the U.S., his first appointment was at Magnolia First UMC in 1989. Clark then served at Hawley Memorial UMC in Pine Bluff from 1992 to 1996 before returning to his alma mater in ‘96 to serve as the chaplain of Hendrix College. “Like so many people that go to college and discern their calling, that was an important time in my life. And the opportunity came up for me to return to my college and get to serve a place that really impacted me. “It was incredibly fulfilling to get to help others, not just those thinking about going into ministry, but anyone. It’s a major time in a young person’s life.” During his time as a chaplain, Clark was able to minister to students at Hendrix, but in many ways, the students also changed his life. “I was so influenced by the students and their energy, their new thoughts and their overall optimism about the world and the church.” Before serving at Hendrix, Clark confessed that mission trips weren’t a huge part of his spiritual journey. But over time, as he was able to organize and attend mission trips around the world with students, serving others in foreign countries become his passion. 19



Arkansas United Methodist - February 2019