Hundreds of people in Hopkins County, Kentucky, gathered this week to honor the life of a Baptist pastor who died in a whitewater rafting accident. He is remembered as a vibrant and cheerful "Jesus person" with "God-given abilities."
Rev. Clint Brame, the 35-year-old education minister at Olive Branch Baptist Church in Hanson, died last Friday in West Virginia. He leaves behind his wife, Amanda, and one daughter.
Brame was widely known in his church community for being a silly, balloon-animal-making servant of God who occasionally dressed in a colorful, clown-like jacket while preaching in the pulpit. Brame served in full-time ministry roles for five years at Olive Branch Baptist Church.
“Pastor Brame was humble. He listened to you. He had a servant heart. He loved the people. He loved the Lord Jesus. He loved his family. And He loved the people,” said Rev. Gary Taylor, the 58-year-old senior pastor of Olive Branch Baptist Church for the past 17 years. “Pastor Brame wanted to see people grow in Christ and he was hands-on in working with both Christians and non-Christians to help them as part of his evangelistic duties. He truly knew how to share and live out his faith in Jesus.”
When Brame was not leading the church’s various small groups, running Sunday school classes and discipleship programs or aiding in missions efforts, he was recognized for being out and about in the local community to perform acts of service.
Always known for smiling from ear to ear, the Hopkinsville native would be seen in the neighborhood's streets, sharing with others about Jesus. He was also known to teach the church’s youth how to make animals and various shapes out of balloons to give to other children in need.
He also had a quieter side, in which he played video games, watched "Star Wars" movies and devoted time to spend with his wife and daughter.
Before serving at Olive Branch, Brame earned his bachelor's degree from the Baptist institution Campbellsville University in Kentucky. He later graduated from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville.
Taylor told The Christian Post that Brame would preach in his place on Sundays when he was not available and was heavily involved in helping run the church's behind-the-scenes operations. His duties included overseeing the church's media services and sound booth. He also made sure that people had access to Sunday sermons online and that the live videos on the church’s Facebook page were accessible.
“He was always ready to help me and he met the needs that I couldn’t meet at certain times. He was a great support system and he was a servant leader,” Taylor said. “Pastor Brame was a Jesus-centered person with God-given abilities. Everything he did pointed to Jesus, the Son of God. He was a Jesus person. And he had God-given abilities that he used to point people to Jesus. He helped people to understand that Jesus is the way to Heaven and that declaring Jesus as Lord is key.”
On various occasions, Brame wore a brightly colored jacket that he originally wore to his brother’s wedding. Taylor recalls the first time Brame wore that suit to church was when Brame was preaching in his place when the senior pastor was away from the church for the weekend.
As Rev. Brame preached, multiple congregants captured pictures in admiration and amusement of what they viewed as a unique suit. Soon after, the article of clothing became one of the things Rev. Brame was known for among his church body.
“Pastor Brame and that very funny and silky clown suit in the pulpit ... we always had a ball. … So much laughter,” Taylor recollected, with a giggle.
In a Facebook post late last week, Amanda Brame said she never imagined when her husband got the suit that she would "be laying it out for funeral clothes."
"Not even when I started trying to pick out clothes for him to wear, did I think that he would be wearing this of all things,” Amanda Brame wrote. “So, here we are, Clint’s crazy suit. … The suit has special significance to the family [and] to our church.”
Due to the pandemic, Olive Branch Baptist Church had not had an in-person service for nearly two years. But after Brame’s death, the senior pastor said he wanted to gather as a church community.
To create unity and comfort during a time of mourning, Taylor held a parking lot worship service for the congregation last Saturday. Roughly 335 people gathered for the service to sing, pray and read Scripture as they honored Brame.
Several attendees took time to share the joyful and inspiring memories that they had with their deceased friend.
Since attending the service, two people have told Taylor they wanted to fully dedicate their lives to Jesus Christ because they were inspired by hearing about all Brame has done.
“God has started a healing process within our church. … This brought the church back together, and I believe the greatest thing is sharing the stories of brother Brame and his heart for Jesus. ... Pastor Brame might have only been 35, but he left a legacy of Jesus,” Taylor said. “God is sovereign and He has a purpose and plan. Losing Rev. Brame is horrible and terrible, but in the midst of it, we see God moving.”
The visitation wake for Brame will occur Friday, and the funeral service will be Saturday at First Baptist Church in Hopkinsville County.