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Funeral celebrates life of Rev. Robina Winbush

Funeral celebrates life of Rev. Robina Winbush

Rev. Robina Marie Winbush preaches during the closing prayer service of the WCC 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Photo: Paulino Menezes/WCC

26 March 2019

A funeral on 22 March celebrated the life of Rev. Robina Winbush, a World Council of Churches (WCC) Central and Executive Committee member known for her fierce advocacy for justice.

Family members, WCC representatives, friends and colleagues gathered at the Broad Street Presbyterian Church in Columbus, Ohio (USA).

WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, wrote a letter of condolence expressing deep sadness at Winbush’s untimely death.

“Rev. Robina Winbush was a prophetic ecumenist who helped shape an ecumenical movement passionate for justice and unity,” wrote Tveit. “She was intensely involved in the life and work of the WCC.”

As a delegate to the Porto Alegre Assembly in 2006, which gathered under the theme “God, in your grace, transform the world”, she gave voice to what we experienced, reflected Tveit.

“She gave us hope and encouragement on that day and also for this moment of grief,” wrote Tveit. “Her wisdom, her passion, her testimony will be missed.”

The hallmark of her legacy in the WCC will be her prophetic commitment to unity with justice, particularly racial justice and gender justice, continued Tveit. “She had a profound patience for reconciliation, but reminded us that there is no cheap reconciliation and warned us not to underestimate the conflicts that come with a clear commitment to justice and human dignity for all,” wrote Tveit. “She believed in the future and nurtured one generation after another of younger ecumenists, making space for them where others might not.”

She was a mentor to many, showing extraordinary compassion for the lives of the people she encountered on her journey, Tveit wrote. “She was a powerful preacher and spiritual rock,” he said. “It is hard to imagine our future, walking forward on the pilgrimage of justice and peace, without Robina.”