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David Goodbourn

Tribute to Dr David Goodbourn from the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. Goodbourn died on 9 November 2014.

14 November 2014

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to the one hope of your calling, one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all. (Ephesians 4:5-6)

Following the death of Dr David Goodbourn on Sunday 9 November, we give thanks to God for the life and faithful witness of this distinguished educator, creative thinker and loyal friend in the service of the One Church of Jesus Christ. Recognizing David’s many achievements, we in the World Council of Churches are especially grateful for his contributions to the work of the WCC Commission on Education and Ecumenical Formation, the WCC Programme Committee, and for his transformative participation in all three governing bodies of the WCC: the Assembly, Central Committee and Executive Committee. I will personally miss him and his never failing support, till our last communication.

A member and leader of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, in his youth David was president of the Baptist Student Federation before beginning his career as a teacher in Scotland and England. From 1999 to 2006 he was general secretary of Churches Together in Britain and Ireland. Afterwards, he continued to make his mark as president of the ecumenical Partnership for Theological Education, Luther King House in Manchester, UK, retiring from that position in 2011.

At the 9th Assembly of the WCC (Porto Alegre, Brazil, 2006), David Goodbourn represented the Baptist Union as a delegate and was elected to a seven-year term on the Central Committee; later, when he became chair of the WCC Programme Committee, he also came to serve as a member of the Executive Committee. He played an essential, imaginative and consistently positive role in the ecumenical movement during a time of changing circumstances, changing expectations and changing leadership. His experience and skills in administration added significantly in those years to the quality of governance review and the reform of institutional structures.

As an educator, lay theologian and ecumenist, David encouraged his students, colleagues and companions to face hard questions with unflinching honesty and with the knowledge that God’s love is mediated in our love for one another. Through his teaching, his writing and those whom he loved, David’s witness continues. Our prayers are with his wife Lynne, their extended family and their companions on life’s pilgrimage, that we all may know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge and fills us with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:19).

In remembrance,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary