Ruth Clark

Courageous and Contagious Women: Ruth Clark

By Marilyn Koehler

In the fall of 2011 the District held a women’s retreat at Camp Pine Lake titled Courageous and Contagious Women.  Leading up to that retreat, six articles were written highlighting women in the District.  Ruth Clark was one of them and this article on Ruth was published in the April 28, 2011 District Newsletter. Ruth passed away on November 6, 2012 at the age of 77.

Dorothy wasn’t the only one who said, “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto!”  A young Kansas girl (recent graduate from McPherson College) volunteered for Brethren Volunteer Service (BVS) and found herself in Germany, serving coffee in an evangelical “House of Refuge” for German people returning to their homeland from Russia and its territories after World War II.  She helped distribute clothing that had come from the U.S.

After her two-year assignment in BVS ended, she worked a year in the Student Exchange Program office, then mainly an exchange of teachers, in Kassel, Germany.  She was chosen to be an interpreter in Schwarzenau, Germany during the 250th celebration of the Church of the Brethren.  Visitor Dan West asked her to become the Youth field worker for the Central Region of the Church of the Brethren beginning in 1960 at Manchester College.  For two years, she traveled all over IN, MI, WI, KY, IL and OH in the Central Region to meet with youth groups and help in camp programs and Bible schools before attending Bethany Theological Seminary to earn a Masters in Christian Education.  Her first job as Director of Christian Education at First Church of the Brethren in Roanoke, VA, was to begin in the fall. Meanwhile she accepted the invitation to become the summer pastor at the Grandview Church of the Brethren near Froid, MT where she met her future husband, Ralph Clark.  After a year in Roanoke, they were married in McCune, KS, and moved to MT where Ruth continued to serve Christ and the church.

From her base of operations in Froid, Ruth continued to demonstrate her love for the church as an advocate for BVS, Heifer Project International, and many other social and justice issues.  She also served by teaching others, serving on various local committees and sharing her faith and witness in the community.  Her unfailing faith and courage enabled her to log hundreds of miles as she served in many district and national church offices over the past 50 years.  When no longer able to travel, Ruth was able to write articles for district and national publications to keep others aware of social and justice issues.

Through the years, the hospitality of Ralph and Ruth Clark became widely known as they hosted many from the Church of the Brethren and other groups; their home became a place of renewal for all who visited there.  Ruth Davidson Clark is another example of Courageous and Contagious Women in the Northern Plains District.