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Dr David Stevens

Condolence message to the Corrymeela Community

27 May 2010

To:
Corrymeela Community
Northern Ireland

Geneva, 26 May 2010

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God (Matthew 5:9)

It is with great sadness that we in the World Council of Churches secretariat have received the news of the death of Dr David Stevens, the leader of the Corrymeela Community.

With others in the international ecumenical community who have had the privilege of walking with David, we would like to honour and celebrate the faith, integrity and passion that David shared with many and to a wider world. His constructive analyses, theological insights on forgiveness, reconciliation and peace, and great compassion enabled him to guide churches and lead communities to approach conflict resolution with honesty, courage and love.   His work mirrored his profound involvement in the plight and the potential of the people of Northern Ireland.

Communities far beyond Northern Ireland have benefited from the effective and inspirational leadership David gave to the Corrymeela Community. He was instrumental in helping Corrymeela become a safe environment for groups to meet and begin to develop trust and partnerships between communities.  His writings and talks on what Christians can bring to the search for reconciliation are recognized internationally. His wise, warm and forthright approach challenged and spurred change even in the most difficult situation. His humbling call to churches dealing with conflict resolution is a stark reminder for all churches on the contrite approach we have to take. “We in the churches have a responsibility for the present state of relationships in this community,” he told a conference in 2004, noting that “there is a necessary ‘Kyrie Eleison’ – Lord have mercy – for us in dealing with this issue”.

His life of ministry is an inspiration.  A dedicated ecumenist, David was general secretary of the Irish Council of Churches 1992 to 2003. A Presbyterian elder, he exemplified how a member of a particular community can work to build bridges between different communities and across deep divisions in society.  He reflected this in a lifetime of service – from his role as a young volunteer to leadership roles in many facets of society including the Standing Advisory Commission on Human Rights and the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council.

Our prayers and thoughts are with his family.  We stand with all who hold David Stevens in high regard.  His memory will continue to inspire us.

Yours sincerely,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary