Longtime Foursquare pastor and former General Counsel Elford (El) Clark, 73, passed away early on Wednesday, May 4. He had suffered a series of heart attacks while he and his wife, Fran, visited their grandchildren in Pennsylvania.
At the time of his death, El was serving The Foursquare Church in three roles: special counsel to the legal team, Florida regional pastor for the Atlantic District, and Foursquare Missions International emissary to East and Southern Africa.
In the latter position, he helped the National Church in Kenya with teaching, training, coaching and mentoring leaders to be more effective in their ministries. El also worked with National Leader Joseph Ondiocho and the board, assisting them with legal issues and discipleship.
President Randy Remington said El served our Foursquare family with diligence and skill as not only legal counsel, but also as a senior pastor. “Those two roles were fused beautifully in how El functioned,” Randy said. “He always led first from a spiritual sensitivity and a commitment to Jesus and His Church. Even in ‘retirement,’ El was a vibrant ‘pastor of pastors’ and an integral part of our Foursquare team. He will be irreplaceable.”
Former President Glenn Burris Jr. (2009-2020) noted that the book of Acts said when Phillip the evangelist came to town, everyone was happy. “El Clark had that effect on people,” Glenn commented. “His love for God and his service to others was unmatched. He’s been a dear friend for 41 years. I treasure every moment we had together, and I celebrate the legacy of his life. I’m a better follower of Jesus because of El Clark.”
A 1971 graduate of the University of Florida with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, El was a pastor for 15 years before beginning his legal career with The Foursquare Church. He earned his Juris Doctor degree from the Western State University’s College of Law in Fullerton, Calif., in 1989 and joined Foursquare’s legal staff in August of 1992.
During his service, El worked with seven Foursquare presidents: John Holland, Harold Helms (interim), Paul Risser, Jared Roth (interim), Jack Hayford, Glenn Burris Jr. and current President Randy Remington.
Serving as general counsel before his retirement from that office in 2014, El managed litigation and represented hundreds of local Foursquare churches in courts and mediations across the U.S. and the world, including Kenya and South Africa.
A frequent advisor on legal issues for church and parachurch ministries, El also served on the advisory committee of the Church Risk Management Certification Program of the University of Cambridge in Cambridge, England.
The year he stepped down as Foursquare’s general counsel, El founded Pathfinder Mediations, with offices in Gainesville, Fla., and Los Angeles. With Pathfinder, he mediated legal cases across the country by serving as a neutral party, helping negotiate agreements and end conflict.
Joshua Best, who currently serves as general counsel for The Foursquare Church remembers the ways El faithfully served in so many ways: “Perhaps publicly he was best known as a wise legal counselor. But to those who knew him or were blessed enough to receive encouragement, prayer or a prophetic word from him, El was a discerning, Spirit-filled servant of the Lord who saw the God-potential in those around him.”
El and Fran were married for more than 40 years. They had two children, Micah and Joy, and two grandchildren.
A celebration of life service for El Clark will be held on May 14, at 11 a.m. EST, at The Rock of Gainesville in Gainesville, Fla. The service will be available to watch online at live.therockonline.org. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Foursquare Missions International in honor of El Clark.