A reflection by the Rev. Dr. Diane C. Kessler, former Executive Director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches
Eden Grace passed away on May 26, 2023 at a hospice center in Scarborough, Maine with complications from her chemotherapy treatment. She was well known to many in among the New England Yearly Meeting of Friends (Quakers) and the Massachusetts Council of Churches. Please watch for an announcement of a memorial service for Eden, under the care of Beacon Hill Friends Meeting in Boston.
God bless her, she was a gift not only to the Religious Society of Friends, but to all the churches, both within New England and throughout the world.
Eden had an outsized influence in the World Council of Churches, given the modest scope of the Religious Society of Friends. She embodied the spirit of the Friends, and people responded to accordingly. She began her experience of the ecumenical movement in the Massachusetts Council of Churches, studying the history, theory, and practice, and working side by side with staff and volunteers.
Through that experience, she was introduced to the staff of the World Council of Churches, who recognized and sought her talents. She was elected to the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches at the 50th anniversary assembly in 1998 in Harare, Zimbabwe, from Friends United Meeting. She served on the Program Guidelines Committee at that assembly,. She was an “advisor to the delegation” at the Porto Alegre, Brazil assembly in 2006 from Friends United Meeting in Kenya. And she was instrumental in informing and interpreting the Friends’ way of building consensus in the decision-making process, a crucial stage as the Orthodox churches continued to discern their place in creating WCC policies and procedures.
We read in the book of Revelation, “Blessed are the dead who die in Christ. ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘that they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!’”
We pray for all the members of Eden’s family, and for the members of the Religious Society of Friends, who knew, appreciated, and loved her.