Thursday, 25 February 2010

Message of Condolence on the Death of Professor Steve de Gruchy

This message has been sent to Marian Loveday, on the death of her husband, Professor Steve de Gruchy, following an accident on the Mooi River on 21 February

My dear Marian and family

On behalf of my wife and myself, and also on behalf of the whole Anglican Church of Southern Africa, I am writing to convey our condolences on the death of your husband.

Steve was a long-standing and dear friend of the Anglican Church, not only in Southern Africa, but of the whole world-wide Communion and will be sorely missed, even as we thank God for the fellowship in the gospel that we shared with him. Indeed, at times we have been tempted to think of him as 'one of us', and not only in that he held the Bishop of Kimberley and Kuruman's licence when he was at the Moffat Mission Trust. We were privileged to have him as a keynote speaker at the international 'Towards Effective Anglican Mission' conference in 2007, and I am glad that I was able to spend some time with him during my visit to the University of KwaZulu-Natal in September 2008. In various ways in recent years he has also had a significant input to our church's engagement with development issues, including in the vital area of training both parish clergy and bishops.

We shall miss Steve hugely, for the gifted theologian that he was, with a remarkable ability to draw links between academic theology, government policy-making, and the realities of the lives of the poor. I, and the Church I serve, shall keenly feel the lack of his insights into issues of poverty and justice within our country, and the challenges they pose to all who claim the name of Christian. But more than that, I shall miss a dear brother in Christ, a man of great warmth and humour, and someone whom I was privileged to call a friend.

Dear Marian, at this time our hearts go out to you, your family, and all who loved Steve. We hold you in our love and in our prayers, asking that our Lord - who wept at the grave of his friend Lazarus, and then was not afraid to face death himself, so that for all of us who put our trust in him it might become the gateway to life - may surround you with his compassion, his comfort, his strength, and the assurance that nothing, neither in life nor in death, can separate us from the love of God that is ours in Christ Jesus.

May Steve rest in peace and rise in glory, and may you all in your mourning know the consolations of Christ who promised that 'blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.'

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