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Minister who led Corrymeela for 12 years dies at age of 77

By Alf McCreary

The Rev Dr John Morrow, a Presbyterian minister and a former leader of the Corrymeela Community, died in his sleep early on New Year's Day. He was 77.

He succeeded Corrymeela's founder the Rev Dr Ray Davey as leader in 1980, and for 12 years he gave the community a strong sense of cohesion and direction in its important work of ecumenical Christian leadership during some of the worst of the Troubles.

He promoted dialogue with the main political parties, including Sinn Fein, at a time when it was not easy to do so.

Dr Morrow, who was a founder-member of Corrymeela in the mid-Sixties, was closely involved with others in helping individuals and families suffering from intimidation.

He was involved with others in human rights issues, which led to the foundation of the Committee for the Administration of Justice, and he was also a campaigner for the ‘UDR Four’.

Dr David Stevens, the current Corrymeela leader, paid tribute to his virtues of “integrity, honesty, fairness, courage and persistence”.

Morrow was not afraid of disagreement and he once said “I don't think I'm soft, and I don't mind people disagreeing with me.

“We have to work things through, and we cannot pretend that we always have a common mind on everything.”

He was educated at Campbell College, Queen's University and New College Edinburgh, and served as minister of Seymour Hill Dunmurry, and also as Presbyterian chaplain successively in universities and colleges in Glasgow, Dublin and Belfast before joining Corrymeela full-time.

He was supported enormously in his work by his late wife Shirley whose untimely death some four years ago affected him deeply.

Dr Morrow is survived by his children Duncan, Philip, Alison and Neil, and by his wider family and friends.

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