Obituaries-2004

Article excerpt

Rev. Charles W. Arbuthnot, a Presbyterian minister, died on 8 August 2004 at the age of 90. In 1948, in addition to his work coordinating the Presbyterian Fraternal Workers in Europe, he was named to represent the Presbyterian Church USA at the newly founded World Council of Churches. Through his WCC connection, he played an important role in the forming of the 1949 Genera Convention on the treatment of prisoners of war and became an active advocate for ecumenical causes.

Rev. Canon Dr John Aves, honorary canon of Norwich cathedral, UK, died on 25 January 2004, of a heart attack in Bethlehem where he was serving as a WCC ecumenical accompanier. Aves was 52. His work with Israeli peace groups and in the Deheisha refugee camp signalled his commitment to non-violent action, while the stories he wrote as an EA showed his compassion, comprehension and deep understanding of each person he met. Alison Elliot, WCC Commission of the Churches on International Affairs (CCIA) member from Scotland, represented the Council at the 6 February funeral in Norwich.

Mrs Ruby Gayle, a former secretary of the Jamaica Council of Churches, passed away after a short illness in October 2004. She is best known for her service to the committees of the WCC and the World Day of Prayer sponsored by Church Women United, as well as for her dedication to the vision of unity for the churches in the Caribbean region.

Rev. Francis House, a priest in the Church of England, died on 1 September 2004, aged 96. After the second world war and relief work in Greece, he became the first secretary of the WCC youth department, and then director of religious broadcasting of the BBC 1947-55. He returned to Geneva in 1955 as the WCC's associate general secretary for ecumenical action. He was a strong and faithful supporter of the Ecumenical Institute in Bossey.

Rev. Jan Milic Lochman, a minister of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethren and distinguished professor of religion and systematic theology in Prague, New York and Basel, died on 21 January 2004 at the age of 81. From 1968 to 1975, Lochman was a member of the WCC central and executive committees, and served on its Faith and Order commission from 1975 to 1991; from 1970 to 1982, he chaired the World Alliance of Reformed Churches' theology department.

Mrs Frances Maeda died on 26 July 2004, aged 91. From 1947 to 1977, she worked for the World Council of Churches in its New York office, filling a variety of positions including twenty years of service as secretary for programmes.

Rev. Dr Walter G. Muelder, theologian, pacifist and social activist, died on 12 June 2004, aged 93. From 1945 to 1972, he was dean of the School of Theology at Boston University and became a co-founder and first chair of the Boston Theological Institute. An early exponent of the "responsible society" in ecumenical social thought, Muelder served the World Council of Churches on the Faith and Order commission and as chair of the Commission on Institutionalism and the board of the Ecumenical Institute at Bossey, Switzerland. He was a Methodist delegate to the WCC assemblies at Evanston, New Delhi and Uppsala.

Rev. Dr Christian Frederick Beyers Naude, former moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church of Transvaal, general secretary of the South African Council of Churches in the mid-1980s and campaigner for justice in South Africa, passed away on 7 September 2004 at the age of 89. Paying tribute to the man who played a key role in the churches' struggle against apartheid, WCC general secretary Samuel Kobia characterized Naude as "one of the true Christian prophets of our time". …