Obituary: Stephen B. Clark 1940 – 2024

Stephen Bruce Clark, of Chelsea, Michigan, USA, born on June 1, 1940, died at the age of 83 on March 16, 2024. He was a pioneer and intellectual leader of the Charismatic renewal, a spiritual movement which has had a transformative impact on the Christian churches.

Steve was born in Queens, New York, the son of Louis Seidenstein and Estelle Edna Clark. He attended Bellerose Public School on Long Island and Peddie Boys School in Hightstown, New Jersey. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Yale University, Steve studied at the University of Freiburg in Germany on a Fulbright Scholarship. He then completed his Masters in philosophy at Notre Dame University.

Steve became convinced of the truth of Christianity while a student at Yale, where he was baptized a Catholic. Reading about Francis of Assisi led him to seek a life of simplicity, prayer, and service to others. That pursuit inspired him to give up his doctoral studies in philosophy, and to dedicate himself to Christ as a lay evangelist and community builder.

In 1967 he moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, along with three friends who shared his evangelistic vision. They had been among the first Catholics that year to have a Pentecostal experience, and in Ann Arbor they formed the first Charismatic covenant community. The group was called “The Word of God,” and it soon included thousands of local Christians of various ages, states of life, cultural backgrounds, and churches. Steve was one of its primary leaders.

At the same time Steve gathered a group of young men who sought to share a celibate life of simplicity, prayer, and service. Together they formed a lay ecumenical brotherhood called The Servants of the Word with Steve as its first overall leader. They now have more than ten households in six countries.

In 1983 The Word of God and other related communities joined together to form an international community called The Sword of the Spirit, with Steve as its founding President. The Sword of the Spirit now consists of more than 95 communities around the world with over 12,500 adult members and 5,000 children.

Steve authored or compiled more than twenty books and several hundred articles. His writings have had a profound influence on the development of the Catholic Charismatic movement and its communities. But his greatest legacy consists of the lives of thousands of men and women whose love for God and God’s people took flight from Steve’s youthful decision to imitate Francis and follow Christ wherever he led.

Steve has no surviving members of his immediate family, but his loss is mourned by his brothers in the Servants of the Word and the members of the Sword of the Spirit.

Obituary copyright © 2024 The Servants of the Word. 

Top image credit: photo of Stephen B. Clark © 2024 The Servants of the Word.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *