With much sadness the Northern Synod advises of the passing of Rev Bill (William, Hamilton) Clarke. Bill, born 18 October 1939, passed away in Sydney on 1 March 2016.
Bill’s working life began with a decade as a carpenter. Theological studies at United Theological College in Sydney then led to service at Katoomba; Guilford and Cabramatta; Sutherland, Menai and Woronora Congregational churches and in the Sutherland Methodist Circuit. In 1976 Bill and family headed north to the United Church in North Australia with service in Nhulunbuy and then Casuarina Uniting in Darwin. After a solid stint in the north the Clarke’s returned to Sydney with Bill taking up a placement at Sylvania.
Bill Clarke is fondly remembered in the Northern Synod for his great passion for ministry, especially in establishing new congregations. For example, the Casuarina congregation began in Wulagi Primary School before moving to the newly constructed worship centre on Christmas Eve 1985, where Bill preached at up to four services each Sunday. Bill was also the key driver behind establishment of the Karama and Palmerston Uniting Church congregations.
He had a vision beyond the Darwin urban area and regularly took services at Batchelor and Douglas-Daly and had an ongoing and active interest in the development of ministry in Aboriginal communities. President Stuart McMillan has commented that “Bill has left the Northern Synod with a significant legacy in the way he envisaged and then championed new communities of worship”.
Our Synod stands with wife Cathy and children Ruth, Cathy, Allison, Pauline, Philippa and Mark in sharing in grief but also in joy for a life of dedicated service to His Lord. Indeed well done, good and faithful servant.