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Obituaries--2004.

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".

Rev. Dr J. Robert Nelson, a Methodist theologian, died on 6 July 2004 at the age of 84. He went to the Evanston assembly of the WCC in 1954 as secretary of the Faith and Order commission, and worked in Genera until 1959. Returning to the United States, he became a professor at the Boston University School of Theology and subsequently succeeded Walter G. Muelder as dean. Becoming an expert in the new field of bio-ethics, Nelson administered the WCC conference on "Faith, Science and the Future" at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1979.

Mrs Rosebelle Thu Lay Paw, of the Myanmar Baptist Convention and a member of the WCC central committee since the WCC assembly in Harare in 1998, died in March 2004. As the director of the women's department of the Myanmar Baptist Convention she was an active participant in the ecumenical movement in Myanmar through the Myanmar Council of Churches. She provided outstanding contributions to develop the leadership of women in the church in her country as well as in the wider ecumenical movement.

H.B. Pope Petros VII, Greek Orthodox patriarch of Alexandria and All Africa, was killed on 11 September 2004 in a helicopter crash over the Aegean Sea; 17 other members of the Patriarchate perished with him in the accident. WCC acting general secretary Georges Lemopoulos lamented the loss of "a tireless witness of the gospel ... and a builder of the ecumenical movement in the Middle East, in Africa and in the world".

Archbishop Edward "Ted" Scott, retired tenth primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, died on 21 June 2004 in a car accident near Toronto. Called the "red primate" by his critics, Scott was well known for his stand on social justice issues. In 1975 at Nairobi, the "people's archbishop" assumed the tasks of moderator of the WCC central committee between its fifth and sixth assemblies, 1975-83.

Rev. Vavae Toma, Congregational Church of Samoa, died in May 2004. As the first general secretary of the Pacific Conference of Churches, he contributed to the growth of the ecumenical movement in the region. He was able to bring people of different cultures to build a community of faith in the Pacific. His contributions are evident in the formation of the national council of churches and other ecumenical initiatives.

Dr Wolfgang Ullmann, of the Evangelical Church in Germany and a member of the Faith and Order commission from 1983 to 1991, died on 30 July 2004 at the age of 74. He taught church and legal history at the Protestant seminary in East Berlin during the time of the cold war. In the mid-1980s he became active in opposition groups in East Germany and was active in the European Ecumenical Assembly of 1989 that drew up unprecedented demands for political change in the GDR. After the peaceful revolution in 1989 he was one of the co-founders of the Demokratie Jetzt (Democracy Now) political group, serving as a government minister in the transitional government.

Rev. Rein Jan van der Veen, Uniting Protestant Church in the Netherlands, a former member of the Programme to Combat Racism commission, died in May 2004, at the age of 83. In 1969, he became general secretary of the Dutch Missionary Council and played an important role in making the PCR known and understood in the Dutch churches. He created the Dutch support group for the PCR (Betaald Antwoord), which collected considerable sums of money for the WCC's Special Fund.
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Publication:The Ecumenical Review
Article Type:Obituary
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2005
Words:1191
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