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Clifton Lewis (03-14-2013)
The Reverend Clifton Edward Lewis, a native of Farmerville, Louisiana in Union Parish; was born July 31, 1951. He was the seventh of 11 children born to the late Everett N. Lewis and Elizabeth Rodgers Lewis. Who could know at this time what an impact this child would have on his community and fellowman? Clifton received his early biblical instruction at the Woodlawn Baptist Church and even as a youth was active in Sunday School and Baptist Training Union. He had a passion for learning that even then was described as “uncommon” among his peers. He was well liked and popular but often described as “different.” Reverend Lewis received his high school diploma from Eastside High School in 1969; where he was a noted left-handed baseball pitcher and dresser, receiving the title of “Best Dressed” from his classmates on several occasions. Upon graduation he attended Bishop College in Dallas, Texas. Because of his love for the country life and his baseball skills, he soon returned to Grambling College where he played ball under the legendary Coach Ralph Waldo Emerson Jones and Wilbert Ellis.
Rev. Lewis was united in Holy Matrimony to Shirley Woods for 39 years. She served as his wife, friend, Help Meet, and his biggest supporter in the ministry. Their God-chosen union was blessed with two children-Kwenita and Everette; whom he named to honor the father who died in his youth.
His passion for learning and love for young people inspired him to pursue a career in education. Reverend Lewis graduated from Grambling College in 1975, earning a B.S. degree in English Education. Later he earned his M.A. degree in Literature and his 30+ in Supervision and Administration. He would soon realize that there was still yet a void in his life. This void was filled when he accepted his calling into the ministry on the third Thursday in December of 1980. He was licensed to preach the gospel in 1981 and was ordained as a Baptist minister in 1982. He prepared himself for his calling through studies at the United Theological Seminary in Monroe, LA, American Theological Seminary in Nashville, TN, National Baptist Congress of Christian Education and the Louisiana Baptist Congress of Christian Education. He has pastored churches in Union, Jackson and Lincoln Parishes. Shortly after entering the ministry, he was called to the Saint Peter Missionary Baptist Church Ruston, LA where he served for 3 years. Subsequent to that he served, concurrently at the New Land Baptist Church Bernice, LA and New Galilee Baptist Jonesboro, LA. He served the New Galilee Church until he was called to Mount Harmony Baptist Church. He faithfully served as the proud pastor of the Mount Harmony Missionary Baptist Church in Ruston, LA for 15 years. He is fondly remembered by his congregation as a Teacher and a Builder. He had an uncommon gift for imparting knowledge to others. His bible studies were eagerly anticipated and prepared for by not only members of Mt. Harmony but others in the community. He considered it a requirement of his calling that he train God’s people and empower them with the fullness of their inheritance. This was truly one of his gifts. One of his greatest joys was the instruction on young ministers. He often recounted that he considered it “a privilege” that God would entrust him with the instruction of so many Sons of the House. He worked diligently; nurturing and training them to ensure they would go forth into the world clothed in the full armor of God to preach the Gospel. Under his leadership the church has flourished and a Family Life Center, Kidz “N” Harmony Daycare and Elder Care program have been established. The church serves as a sanctuary for many students as they matriculate at GSU, La Tech, and ULM.
He served as president of the United Ministers in Action Alliance of Jackson Parish where he was instrumental in developing an annual area-wide revival, scholarship program for students attending historically Black institutions in Louisiana, and an annual food giveaway and clothing bank. As an educator for nearly three decades, he served as Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, Director of Option III Program, Director of Title IV Drug Free Schools, and Principal in Union, Lincoln, and Claiborne parishes. In earlier years he was fortunate enough to have worked as Coordinator for Communications and Assistant Business Manager at Grambling State University, the school “Where Everybody is Somebody”. In his final days, he served as Principal of Homer High School in Homer, LA.
His professional affiliations include membership in Louisiana Association of Principals, Louisiana Association of School Administrators of Federally Assisted Programs, Louisiana Association of School Executives, and the National Association of Secondary Principals. He was active in the community and was affiliated with the Interdenominational Alliance of Ministers and the Liberty Hill Association and Congress where he served as Bible instructor. Reverend Lewis served as Vice President for the 3rd District of the Liberty Hill Association, Inc. He was also a proud member of Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Incorporated, Omega Chapter and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP)
Rev. Lewis was truly a Beacon of Light in the community. His radio ministry reached many neighboring parishes and served as an inspiration to many in their time of need. He knew no limits to reaching out to his fellowman and showed genuine kindness and love to all who knew him. He was propelled forward by an incessant desire to be a servant in whom God was well pleased. He was a man of great vision for his people, his community, and the future. Reverend Lewis served as an instrument in the Master’s service, believing that to whom much is given, much is required. He was a chosen vessel who served God by serving mankind.
Loved ones forever cherishing his loving and gracious spirit include his loving and devoted wife, Shirley; a daughter, Kwenita Lewis-Garner(Larry)of McKinney, TX; a son, Everette Lewis of Grambling, LA; 5 granddaughters-Xoliswa, Isis, Essence, Layla, and Kennedy; 2 brothers, John Lewis(Joyce) of Patterson, CA and Donald Lewis(Deborah)of Farmerville, LA, 8 sisters, Cendia Nelson(Madison) of Monroe, LA, Elva Mayfield(Payton Sr.) of Ruston, LA , Evelyn Lewis and Mary Lewis both of Farmerville, LA, Margaret Simmons and Barbara Lewis both of Oakland, CA; Angela Lewis and Debra Andrews both of Farmerville, LA; 2 aunts, Valentine Benton and Mattie Andrews both of Monroe, LA; 2 uncles, Duke Rodgers and Damon(Gladys) both of Oakland, CA and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, many extended family members; beloved, cherished friends and the Mount Harmony Church Family.
“May the work I’ve done speak for me.”