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Edna Palmer

A tribute to Edna Palmer, a Presbyterian ecumenist from the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit. She died on 8 November 2014.

18 November 2014

And I heard a voice from heaven saying, "Write this: Blessed are the dead who from now on die in the Lord." "Yes," says the Spirit, "they will rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!"
Revelations14:13 (NRSV)

Following the death of Mrs Edna Leigh Palmer on Saturday 8 November, we give thanks to God for her life and faithful witness in the service of the One Church of Jesus Christ. From the early years of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the USA and the World Council of Churches, Edna has given dedicated service to the work of Christian unity, offering assistance and support to ecumenical leaders and guidance and historical context to the younger generations of emerging leaders.

Edna Palmer was executive assistant to several directors of the WCC’s New York office, including Rev. Dr Joan Brown Campbell, Ms Jean S. Stromberg, and Rev. Deborah DeWinter. She continued to work as a volunteer for the US office until 2012.

While I did not have the opportunity to personally meet her, I understand that she met all my predecessor WCC general secretaries. Even now, I hear from colleagues here in Geneva who remember with profound gratitude the ecumenical hospitality that Edna extended to them and many others of the one ecumenical family as they visited the New York offices or attended the annual meetings of the US Conference of the WCC. If the ecumenical movement can boast any achievements of unity, transformation, justice, and peace, it is largely due to the tireless efforts and simple acts of faith of countless devoted Christians such as Edna, who respond to the call and give of themselves completely in service to a greater vision.

To those loved ones, friends and former colleagues who gather to celebrate her and pause to remember her rich and full life, please be assured that brothers and sisters around the world who have been beneficiaries of Edna’s generosity of spirit join you with grateful hearts and rejoice in knowing that Edna now rests indeed from her labours. May she rise in eternal glory.

In remembrance,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary