Wednesday, 24 February 2010

In memory of Steve de Gruchy

At this point last year we were just publishing Steve de Gruchy's short meditation for Seven weeks for water on sewage, justice and the Jordan. This year we are about to publish an article by him in Ecumenical Review.
This morning the news came through that Steve's body had been found. Search parties had been looking for him since a rafting accident on the Mooi river over the weekend. A tragedy for the family and for the School of Religion and Theology in Kwazulu Natal of which he was head.
At lunchtime today we gathered in the chapel and shared stories about Steve: his paper on "A Theology of Shit" given in Belem last year; his wonderful collaborative way of encouraging both students and teaching staff; his creative and academic style; his zest for life and education.
We laughed and we were very sad, Steve's work, his being, his verve and insight were important for many of us and now he is no longer, and it is almost unbearable. We prayed and sang, lit candles and read from the Bible and from some of Steve's own writing. And gradually we left the chapel with damp eyes and returned to work having at least managed to lay down some of our grief ...
Steve may you rest in peace and rise in glory.
Update: I have posted an appreciation of Steve by Tinyiko Maluleke here.