Other Short Tributes – from the Past and Present – for Steve Clark 

A Founder and Spiritual Father who transmitted spiritual life to new leaders of covenant communities

by Carlos Alonso Vargas

I came to know Steve Clark as someone who could detect people’s leadership potential, and foster and promote that leadership. That’s precisely what he did in my case – to foster my leadership gift and encourage me to exercise it. This is the same thing Steve has done with many, many people throughout several decades. He is able to transmit spiritual life to new leaders. 

This is one of the reasons why I believe that Steve has a charism not only as a founder but as a father. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 4:15, “Even though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers, for in Christ Jesus I became your father through the gospel.” I think this describes Steve’s relationship to us in the Sword of the Spirit – we have perhaps had many leaders, many who have helped us to grow and to shape our communities. But the one who gave life to us as a community of communities, through a foundational charism from the Holy Spirit, is Steve. 

I personally consider that he has the spiritual stature of some of the founders of great movements in the history of the church such as Anthony of the Desert and Benedict of Nursia. In my view, Steve, as a founder and a teacher, has the stature of a church father. Perhaps only the future history of the church will be able to make an objective appraisal of Steve’s spiritual weight, but I am proud to honor him, with no doubt whatsoever, as the father of the Sword of the Spirit, the father of covenant community, and, in fact, my spiritual father. 

[Carlos Alonso Vargas has served in the past as President of the Sword of the Spirit. He is a Coordinator of Comunidad Arbol de Vida, in San Jose, Costa Rica.] 

A Pioneer of Ecumenical Covenant Communities

by Paul Dinolfo

As a Protestant in the Sword of the Spirit, I have found Steve’s ecumenical credentials a great encouragement. Since his conversion to Christianity, Steve has combined a strong commitment to his own church, the Catholic Church, with an openness to Christians from other church communions. His openness to Pentecostals helped prepare the first Catholics to be baptized in the Holy Spirit. His commitment to the Catholic Church helped shape the Catholic charismatic renewal so that it did not become a divisive movement as it had in so many other church communions prior to 1965. Subsequently the Catholic charismatic renewal became a model for the charismatic renewal. I believe this contributed greatly to the subsequent success of the charismatic renewal movement. 

As Christians from many different church communions began coming together in Ann Arbor, Steve recognized the hand of God and saw what was happening as an answer to the ecumenical vision of Vatican II. Steve embraced this grass roots, daily-life ecumenism and developed the theological and practical teaching to support it. He developed the main outlines of our understanding of cooperative ecumenism, convergent ecumenism, and our ecumenical approach. Steve pioneered the development of the first ecumenical covenant community. There are currently nine fully-developed ecumenical communities in the Sword of the Spirit. Steve has been directly involved in the formation of seven of them. 

In this regard it is also important to note the ecumenical impact of all of Steve’s teaching. It is always deeply grounded in Scripture. Steve has influenced the Sword of the Spirit so that our teaching is likewise grounded in Scripture. This makes the Sword of the Spirit accessible to Christians from all church communions. 

[Paul Dinolfo is a Coordinator in the Work of Christ Community Lansing, Michigan, USA.] 

Steve Clark’s Generous Investment  as a mentor, father, and model for future generations of leaders

by Ande Kebe

For four decades, Steve has not only inspired men and women around him with his witness of a life radically set apart for the Lord, nor just equipped them through his wisdom, teaching, and vision to build community, but he has also continued to invest in young leaders by personally engaging them, helping them, and challenging them to grow in Christian maturity. 

The greatest impact that Steve has had on the next generation of the Sword of the Spirit is by continuing to go to the front lines of youth work and help win young men to the life of mature Christian discipleship and leadership. Steve has inspired, trained, and equipped these young men to serve and to be strong leaders. But most fundamentally he has loved each one of them and helped them to follow God’s will for their lives. 

I speak for many young men around the Sword of the Spirit in saying that Steve’s generous personal investment as a  mentor to me and even more importantly, his fatherly love for me have had a tremendous impact on my desire to respond generously to the Lord’s call to be a builder in the Sword of the Spirit and Kairos. His investment in the leaders of our movement will bear tremendous fruit in the future generations around the world. 

[Andy Kebe has served as a Kairos Mission Leader in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.] 

Reflections in Memory of Steve Clark shared during Memorial Service

by Ralph Martin

Top photo credit: Steve Clark addressing International Coordinators Meeting in London, UK 2004, © Sword of the Spirit

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