Jennifer Clark is an avid reader who grew up in a Christian home surrounded by music. Her father was an ordained Baptist minister, and she, her mother, her grandmother, and her great-aunt were all musicians. She developed a love for the Psalms, from which she derives a lot of strength, and for the wisdom she found in the Book of Proverbs.
Jennifer was born in the small town of LaGrange in eastern North Carolina. When she was 13, her family relocated to Hackensack, New Jersey, a suburb of New York City. “It was culture shock,” she says of that move. She came to Asheville from Raleigh, North Carolina, in August of 2009 to finish a therapeutic massage program. She says she loves this city so much, she feels like she’s been here forever.
Jennifer also has a deep love for Haywood Street Congregation, and she serves on the administrative board. She has observed in pastor Brian Combs and the church “a genuine love of people and of the gospel.” In her opinion, Brian “epitomizes what God would want a pastor to be.” The church’s ministry to, and embrace of, people who are homeless “makes me feel that there really is a God,” she says.
“To be a Christian,” says Jennifer, “means to be Christ-like, if we possibly can—to help people, to be genuinely concerned, to try to understand each other, to be one in the Spirit and love.” She lives this out with a giving spirit, greeting people she meets with a kind word and offering a listening ear to many.
Jennifer says of her parents, “They made my siblings and me feel that with faith, a strong sense of pride, hard work, perseverance, and putting God first, we could accomplish whatever we wanted to accomplish. Regardless of the obstacles in our lives, despite trials and tribulations, we could overcome.” This is a message Jennifer hopes to pass on to young people. She is especially looking forward to applying her skills and knowledge as a massage therapist to work with women and children suffering from HIV/AIDS, bringing them much-needed healing touch.