Mr Peter Norman Clark LLB: 1924-2019
Solicitor who played a very active role in the wider Baptist church
Peter was born in Watford in 1924. Alongside his parents he regularly attended Beechen Grove Baptist Church, Watford. He became a member of this church in 1939 and was baptised there in 1943. He served in the Royal Air Force from 1943 to 1947; attaining the rank of Flying Officer and qualifying as a navigator. After the war he qualified as a solicitor and obtained his law degree. For 40 years he worked at a firm in Watford, finishing his career as senior partner. He became President of the Herts Law Society in 1978 and, after retiring in 1989, he remained a consultant to his firm for some years.
On his marriage in 1951, he moved to Kings Langley and became a member of Christ Church Baptist where he worshipped for the rest of his life. He was a deacon there for many years and was eventually made a life deacon; a service he continued to perform with customary integrity until he reached 85 years old. He also took on the positions of Sunday School Superintendent and Church Secretary from 1970 to 1992. In addition he served for a number of years on the Kings Langley Churches Council and was, for a time, Chairman.
During his working life and early retirement years Peter played a very active role in the wider Baptist Church. He served on the General Committee of the Herts Baptist Association, becoming Chairman for three years and president in 1966. He was Chairman of the Central Area Pastoral Committee from 1974 to 1990.
He represented Hertfordshire on the Baptist Union Council from 1963 to 1992, and was then made an Honorary Member of the Council. During his service on the Council he served on various committees. He was Chairman of the Ministry Main Committee for three years and of the Baptist Union Corporation for 10 years. He was Secretary of the General Secretary Review group in 1980 and later served on the General Purposes and Finance Committee, the Baptist Union Corporation and on the Committee of the Strategy Building Scheme.
Peter was very honoured to be asked to be a delegate of the Union to the Assembly of the World Council of Churches in 1968 and to the Baptist World Alliance Congress in 1970, as well as a member of a delegation visiting the Soviet Union in 1977. In addition he was a Director and Secretary of Baptist House Ltd and Chairman of the Baptist Building fund.
In 1967 he became the solicitor to the Baptist Missionary Society, holding this role for many years sitting as a member on various committees. He was Chairman of the BMS in its Bicentenary year and in 1992 he visited Nicaragua and Brazil, a visit which had a profound impact on him.
In 1990 he helped to set up, and became Chairman of, the BU/BMS Harmonisation Group which aimed to support both bodies in dealing with matters of common concern.
He was a member of the Retired Baptist Ministers Housing Association (1976/82), a member of the Round table on Church Membership (2001/3) and Solicitor to the Free Church Federal Council from 1974 to 1989.
An initiative for which Peter was very proud was his involvement in the formation and growth of SCORE, now Sports Chaplaincy UK. When the Revd John Boyers was asked to be the national director of SCORE back in the late 70s Peter was given the task of setting up a management committee.
Peter was married to Audrey, a former President of the Herts Baptist Association and former President of the National Baptist Women's League, for 62 years before her death in 2013. They had four married children, nine grandchildren and nine great grandchildren. His hobbies were music, playing the piano and clarinet, singing, golf and supporting Watford Football Club, being a season ticket holder until the last few months of his life.
Throughout his life Peter was committed to fostering closer relationships between the Missionary Society and the Union. He recognised the importance of the service of lay people in the churches and in the Union and the importance of the support of the ordained ministry by the laity.