Ascension Lutheran Church

Pastor Tom Clark was born in Louisville, MS, and raised on a farm near there. He did not grow up as a Lutheran, but he was baptized and confirmed in another Christian denomination.

After graduating from Mississippi State University with a Bachelor of Science in Education with a minor in Educational Psychology, he attended Candler School of Theology at Emory University in Atlanta, GA, where he received a Master of Divinity degree and was ordained a deacon in his previous denomination. While doing further graduate work in religion at Emory, Pastor Clark served two small rural congregations on the outskirts of Atlanta.

During seminary, Pastor Clark says that he first really understood God’s amazing love and grace for us through reading the theology of Martin Luther. Pastor Clark says of this experience, “I learned that no one is ‘good’ enough to deserve salvation, but that through Christ, God showed his love for us, even while we are sinners, forgiving us and making us his own. But God’s love also changes us, shaping us into the people God wants us to be, making us into people who are also forgiving and gracious.”

After being received into St. John’s Lutheran Church in Atlanta, GA, Pastor Clark was accepted into the Lutheran ordination process. Pastor Clark then attended Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary in Columbia, SC, for one year where he received instruction in Lutheran theology, church polity, liturgical practice, and was called to serve as the assistant pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Hixson, TN. Following his eighteen months of service at Trinity, he was called to be the pastor of Ascension, where he has served since December 1987.

In 1977 Pastor Clark married Susan Burch of Atlanta, GA. Susan is Director of Rowland Medical Library at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. They have two children, Susan Marie and Margaret. Susan Marie is married and teaches first grade in New Orleans. Margaret is a Ph.D. candidate in Classics at the University of Texas in Austin.

Pastor Clark's convictions about life and theology life:

  • We were created to love and glorify God by loving and serving others (Matthew 22:34-40).
     
  • We worship one true God who reveals himself to us as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 13:13)
     
  • This theology is grounded in the "Good News" of what God had done and continues to do for us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. (1 Corinthians 1:18-25)
     
  • Those who have received God's gracious gift of faith in Christ have the promises of forgiveness of sins, deliverance from evil and death, and eternal life. God’s forgiveness is not something we earn… it is free! (John 3:16,17; Romans 3:19-31; Ephesians 2:8-10).
     
  • God reveals himself to humanity through Jesus as “God incarnate”—God in human flesh. We experience this incarnate God in the sacraments: Baptism and Eucharist (Communion).  Through them, we experience the mystical, yet also concrete, presence of Christ. (Matthew 26:26; 1 Corinthians 12:23-26) Christ is truly present in the sacraments. We also experience God incarnate in through his presence among us as we gather and work together doing his will. (Matthew 18:20)
     
  • All Christians are called to share this Gospel and invite others to participate in it (Matthew 28:16-20).