Dr David Stevens, who died on Sunday after a short illness, was Leader of the Corrymeela Community since 2004 and formerly General Secretary of the Irish Council of Churches from 1992-2003. He was 62.
He was widely respected within and beyond the churches for his theological insights, his broad vision, and his leadership of significant peace-making and reconciliation initiatives.
David Stevens graduated with a science degree from Queen’s University and worked as a Corrymeela volunteer during his undergraduate days. He remained a member of the Community throughout his lifetime, and as Leader he was instrumental in planning and delivering a multimillion pound rebuilding programme at the Ballycastle Centre.
He was a charming man with a keen sense of humour, and also a deep thinker with the inner steel required to guide Corrymeela through a period of change and challenge.
David Stevens also had the rare gift of communicating complex theological subjects in a simple, yet profound way.
He was a Presbyterian Elder, but he was always able to set himself apart from the religious institutions and structures and to view all church life in a clear perspective.
He was incisive in his judgments, yet kind, warm and understanding about the frailties of human nature. Stevens was also a gifted writer, and he left a series of acclaimed books on Christian teaching and philosophy.
He was a member of the Standing Advisory Committee on Human Rights 1988-92, and a member of the Northern Ireland Community Relations Council 1990-96 and 2002-08.
David Stevens’ untimely death robs Corrymeela and the wider community of a good and well-liked man who still had much to give and to accomplish. He is mourned by his widow Mathilde, children Thomas and Naomi and the wider family, and by his many friends.