David Clark – about me and my blog

About me and my blog

Hello!   My name is David Clark.   I am retired and now live in Bakewell, Derbyshire.  

Rather late in life I am starting this blog because I want to share some thoughts about trying to live out the Christian faith in a world which has changed beyond recognition since I was a kid.

I grew up in Nottingham in a strong Methodist family – there was no going into shops or listening to the wireless on Sundays – and certainly no gambling allowed or alcoholic drink permitted!   However, my parents – and my local Methodist church – offered me a vision of a far better world than they had experienced – and for that I am very grateful.

I have spent most of my life trying to make that vision a reality.   I took a MA in modern history and diploma in public and social administration at Oxford University.   As a Methodist minister, I spent five years working in a declining mining area on the edge of Sheffield.   I used this experience as the material for a PhD in urban sociology at Sheffield University.   I then worked for six years in inner-city London where great poverty and wealth existed side by side.   Still a Methodist minister, I moved into a secular job to become a lecturer for some thirty years at Westhill College, a college of higher education in Birmingham.   My full-time occupation was training youth and community workers, social workers and teachers.

During my years as a lecturer, I was involved in a number of projects to help renew and reshape a church in the UK struggling to engage with a rapidly changing society.   I set up the National Centre for Christian Communities and Networks in 1980, ran the Christians in Public Life Programme for eight years from 1992, and founded the Human City Institute, Birmingham, in 1997.   In 2005 I became a member of the Methodist Diaconal Order, the first Methodist presbyter to become a deacon.   Since 2014 I have co-ordinated the Kingdom at Work Project seeking to relate the Christian faith more effectively to the world of work.

During the many initiatives I was involved in during these years, I discovered that I belonged to a church which seemed captive to its past, and less and less able to make what I continue to believe is its unique and immensely important contribution to society and world.   I see that contribution as helping humankind to discover and make manifest the gifts of the kingdom community in every walk of life.

This blog is about exploring the nature of the radical transformation – in the life of the church and world – which those gifts of the kingdom community can bring about.

My wife, Sue, worked for many years as an Educational Psychologist for Birmingham Education Authority.   We have two children.   Peter, our son, lives in Seattle (USA) and is Senior Research Manager in the Allen Institute for Artificial Intelligence.   He is married to Rosann.   He has three children, Kevin, Chris and Rachel.   Kirsten, our daughter, lives in Leicester and is married to Steve.    She is a Teaching Assistant (Special Educational Needs) with the Early Years Support Team working for Leicester City Council.   They have two children, Lauren – married to Andy with a very young son Noah and now even younger daughter, Chloe – and Jack – married to (another) Lauren.   I am profoundly thankful that I have been able to learn so much from my family about the meaning of belonging to a deeply loving and caring community.