Dr Stuart J. Kingma

Kingma, a doctor of medicine and a general surgeon trained at Joan & Sanford I Weill Medical College of Cornell University, joined WCC in 1975 as associate director of the Christian Medical Commission. He stepped into the role of director in 1981 and worked at WCC until 1984. Following his service at the WCC, he worked in the World Health Organisation until his retirement. He played a significant role in the life of ecumenical health-related work globally. 

Kingma led the translation into concrete strategies and action, the Christian Medical Commission policies in two vital areas: the promotion of collaboration between non-governmental organizations  active in health and development work and between them and governments and international agencies, and efforts to improve the supply of essential pharmaceuticals for primary health care and health services in developing countries. 

Kingma gave leadership to the formation in 1982, the Geneva-based Group on Primary Health Care, in support of national health planning for primary health care  which provided the conceptual and administrative framework for concrete action in this area. The Christian Medical Commission provided the principal leadership with both the group and this in­itiative. 

His dedicated work assisted in the formation of the Christian Health Association of Sierra Leone and the coordinating agency in Swaziland that was dedicated to promoting primary health care.

As part of his responsibilities, he was also the editor of crucial issues of the Contact” magazine of WCC, ensuring that the philosophy and concerns of the Christian Medical Commission were clearly voiced globally to faith communities.

Dr Isabel Apawo Phiri, WCC deputy general secretary, said, Dr Kigma's visionary and pioneering work ensured that concrete steps were taken to improve the supply and distribution of pharmaceuticals in many countries in sub-Saharan Africa with the Christian Medical Commission walking alongside and providing solidarity and guidance to national non-governmental and church-related organizations. 

Hubert van Beek, retired WCC staff person who was responsible for the organisation's relationships with member churches, reminisced, I worked closely with Dr Kingma, especially at the WCC 6th Assembly in Vancouver, Canada, in the year 1983. He played a vital role in the section on Sharing Life in Community,in which the work of the Christian Medical Commission and Ecumenical Sharing of Resources was successfully presented to the assembly. Stuart went beyond contributing to change and transformation in the healing ministry of churches and communities, as he also communicated it brilliantly in ways understood by even those not technically trained and adept on health and healing issues.”

Rev. Dr Kenneth Mtata, incoming WCC director of Public Witness and Diakonia, said: “Dr Stuart J. Kingma's leadership strengthened the reflection, accompaniment, action and advocacy aspects of the WCC health and healing ministry, and made this service complementary to services offered by governments and civil society. Although Dr Kingma has passed away, his legacy spurs the churches to continue serving the wider community to overcome those challenges that deny people of their full humanity and dignity.” 

Related programmes