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First Presbyterian inducts new pastor

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By Rachel Christian

On June 24, a special ceremony was held at the First Presbyterian Church in Mount Vernon to welcome the congregation’s new pastor.

Andrew Clark, a native of Springfield, Ohio, refers to himself as a “second career pastor.” For over 25 years, he worked in a very different sector as a scientist in an Ohio hospital laboratory.

There was no “lightening bolt moment” for Clark that made him decide to make such a major career change.

“It was a gradual thought that I became more sure of as time went by,” said Clark, who enrolled in the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary School in 2006. “It was something I felt like God called me to do.”

The former scientist underwent his transition with his wife of 35 years, Maureen, by his side. The two both worked and met in the hospital laboratory, and went on to raise two children together. The Clarks found a bond in their faith and remained active in their local Presbyterian church, where Andrew served as a deacon and elder and Maureen taught Sunday school.

When Andrew decided to pursue his seminary education, his wife joined him.

After serving as a pastor at a central Illinois church for several years, Clark was selected to move to the present Mount Vernon location. His wife is also now serving as a pastor at the Presbyterian Church in the nearby town of Carmi. The couple enjoys bicycling together in their spare time, and is currently renting a farmhouse outside New Harmony.

“We were very excited to answer calls where we are needed and still be relatively nearby each other,” he said.

Clark went on to say that his new congregation of about 60 members has been helpful and welcoming as he and his wife familiarize themselves with their new positions and towns.

As he continues to settle into his role at Mount Vernon First Presbyterian, Clark noted that he wants to build on the church’s already solid foundation of ministry.

“We are still in that initial assessment time, but I already know this is a mission-minded congregation,” he said. “I want to continue that and help support that good work.”