Shoo had been admitted at the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical Centre in the Tanzanian town of Moshi on 22 February. He passed on four days later while undergoing treatment at the referral mission hospital.
World Council of Churches (WCC) moderator Dr Agnes Abuom commended Shoo’s ability to unlock the potential of church leaders. “Arthur Shoo was among church workers who knew the church in Africa in terms of the prospects and challenges and was committed to walk and work with leadership and other groups to unlock their potential and design relevant processes and paths towards sustainable solutions,” she said. “We will miss Arthur and those of us left should endeavour to nurture such dedication and deep faith in the church.”
WCC acting general secretary Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca extended his condolences to Shoo’s family and loved ones, and remembered his distinct contribution to the ecumenical movement.
“The legacy of Arthur Shoo, who was a leader in fostering, nurturing, and inspiring ecumenism in Africa and beyond, remains forever,” said Sauca. “In his heart he was a bridge-builder, a peacemaker, and an advisor and friend to so many.”
Shoo was one of the key figures to support the WCC’s Conference on World Mission and Evangelism organized three years ago in Arusha, Tanzania. “The death of Arthur Shoo is a great loss to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania, to African Christianity, and to world mission,” said Rev. Dr Risto Jukko, director of the WCC’s Commission on World Mission and Evangelism.
Prof. Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary, said that Shoo will be greatly missed by the churches in Africa for his role in strengthening the management of church-owned institutions. “He made a mark in ecumenical diaconal work,” said Phiri. “He was a wonderful person to work with.”
Rev. Dr Fidon Mwombeki, general secretary of the All Africa Conference of Churches, also sent a message of condolence. “It is with a heavy heart and great sadness that I have received the news of the death of Mr Arthur Shoo, a pillar of the African ecumenical movement,” said Mwombeki. “I would like to extend my utmost condolences to family, the friends and the congregation of his church.”
From 2006-2015, Shoo was based in Nairobi, working as the director of the department of programmes at the All Africa Conference of Churches, where his service has been described as long and enduring. During the period, his work as a senior official of the organization, he had satisfied stakeholders and partners, according to Mwombeki.
“…a gentle giant, greatly touched the lives of all those who came into contact with him and is remembered to this day across the continent,” he said.
His “selfless service” is recalled when the All Africa Conference of Churches sent him to Mindolo Ecumenical Foundation in Zambia to help the organization, which was facing crippling challenges. Shoo carried out an organizational evaluation and helped draw a strategic plan that saved the foundation from total collapse. The survival of the foundation to date is credited to Shoo’s work. He had also assisted the many churches in Africa in strategic planning, including the Sierra Leone Council of Churches.
“He was great facilitator of strategic plans. He had just agreed to facilitate the All Africa Conference of Churches strategic plan mid-term review this year,” said Mwombeki.
Before joining the All Africa Conference of Churches, he had worked as a senior management consultant at Christian Organizations Research and Advisory Trust of Africa. The organization seeks to enable churches and church-related organizations to improve their management capabilities. He had studied for an MBA/MA at the University of Nebraska in the US.
By the time of his death, he was the general secretary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tanzania Northern Diocese.
“It’s a great tragedy for me, the family and all members of the diocese,” said Bishop Fredrick Shoo of the North Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Tanzania Diocese.
The late Shoo has been described as a father, a leader and a mentor in a number of organizations.
“Arthur’s name will forever be etched in the annals of the ecumenical movement in Africa. We shall miss this great man profoundly,” said Mwombeki.
Shoo was buried on 2 March in Moshi.