Clare J. Sulgit was born in Sierra Leone, West Africa while her parents, Julian Sulgit and Patricia Jarvis, were teaching missionaries with the United Methodist Church. They lived in Africa until Clare was two, when they returned to West Virginia. She is a 4th generation United Methodist pastor, with her great-grandfather, grandfather and both parents serving in churches in West Virginia.
When she was 9, her parents were appointed to Glenville, with Patricia serving as pastor of Trinity UMC and Julian serving as Campus Pastor at Glenville State College. Many folks in the Glenville community helped raise her; fostering an appreciation of folk music, reading and education while strengthening her leadership skills and discipleship. She credits the summer she spent under the tutelage of Dr. Lee Miller to have given her the foundation for the writing skills she uses daily. And it was in Glenville that she learned to ride a bike, making endless trips around “the Loop.”
While living in Wheeling, she had the privilege to travel with the 2nd Northeastern Jurisdiction Mission of Peace with 40 youth from around the Northeast to Russian in the former USSR. It was while on this trip that the call to Ordained Ministry was named for her in its most clear form. The Reverends Jamie & Jeffery Miller, a clergy couple serving in PA who attended the trip as adult counselors, took her aside and began to share their belief she had the gifts for Ordained Ministry and they were praying together she would answer the call. The feature that made this so powerful was they had no knowledge or experience with her family history of pastors. They only saw “Clare” and named the calling for “Clare.”
After graduating high school, she had the pleasure to spend a year in Perth, Australia as a Rotary Exchange student. Again, in a setting where no one knew her family, she again was affirmed by the “outer calling” of the host Rotary club and her host families.
She attended Piedmont Elementary, Glenville Elementary, Gilmer Co. High School and graduated from John Marshall High School in Glen Dale, WV and West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon, WV with a degree in Psychology. She continued with her education at Duke Divinity School where she received a Master’s of Divinity degree.
She served at Duke University Medical Center as a chaplain while living in Durham, NC.
In 1998, Clare returned to West Virginia and was appointed by the Bishop to serve as pastor of Wellsburg United Methodist Church in Wellsburg, WV. In 2004, she moved to Tornado, WV to serve as pastor of Humphrey’s United Methodist Church and help care for her father in his failing health.
In July of 2006 she was appointed pastor of Fayetteville and Doggett Chapel United Methodist Churches.
In July of 2016 she was appointed to serve as pastor of St. Marys United Methodist Church in St. Marys, WV.
Clare has served in various District, Conference, Jurisdictional and General Church positions. Currently, she serves on the WV Conference Justice and Advocacy Committee.
She enjoys music, reading, gardening, being outdoors, traveling, and time with her husband, David Kaufman.