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Street renamed in honor of the late Rev. Philip Clarke, Jr.

admin | 2/1/2012, 7:30 a.m.

On Saturday, Jan. 29th, worshippers and admirers of the late Rev. Philip Clarke, Jr., who led the congregation of St. Matthews Missionary Baptist Church in Liberty City with distinction for over four decades, paused to remember his many contributions. They gathered at the corner of NW 24th Avenue and NW 61st Street to unveil the recently-installed street sign named in their beloved ministers honor. After the many generations that [Clarke] nurtured spiritually and the many lives that he touched in this neighborhood, I felt this was the least that could be done to remember his legacy, said Rev. Mark Trimmings, who led the efforts to have the street renamed. For over 41 years, Clarke served as the senior pastor of the Brownsville church before dying on Feb. 2, 2011 due to complications from pancreatic cancer, according to his son, Rev. Warren Clarke. Now, the stretch of road along NW 61st Street between NW 22nd and NW 27th Avenue a route that the late minister traveled along on numerous occasions will be known as Rev. Dr. Philip Clarke, Jr. Street. Warren, who is an associate minister at the church, described his father as being fully dedicated to St. Matthews MBC. The church was his life my daddy didnt really exist without the church, he said. Clarkes list of accomplishments at St. Matthews were many from remodeling the sanctuary to purchasing nearby property to provide affordable housing. One of his last efforts was establishing the Patricia Moss Scholarship Fund. Even during his illness, he wasnt concerned about his health, he was still reaching out to the church, reaching out to the youth and reaching out to the community, said Nathaniel Miller, the chairman of St. Matthews MBCs trustee board. The 75-year-old Bahamian-American was also a strong proponent for education, serving as a substitute teacher for the Miami-Dade County Public School System for several years. Clarke himself passionately pursued education earning a bachelors degree from Florida Memorial University [then College] in 1972 and later receiving a doctorate of divinity from Atlantic Theological Seminary in 2003. After the dedication service, a Junkanoo band traveled along the newly-renamed street while members of the community joined in the celebration. After the a banquet was served at the church. Clarke is survived by his wife, Marjorie, a daughter and two sons. By Kaila Heardkheard@miamitimesonline.com