Obituary: The Rev Glen Garfield Williams

Click to follow
The Independent Online
GLEN WILLIAMS was at first sight a surprising person to have been a thoroughly European churchman and to have done such notable work as the first Secretary of the Conference of Eurpean Churches, writes the Right Rev Patrick Rodger (further to the obituary by the Rev Brian G. Cooper, 21 April). For he was unmistakably British (but as a Welshman, free of certain English inhibitions) and had something of the air of that sergeant major which he had been in the Second World War. His gifts of organisation and precision, however, were accompanied by the rarer ones of diplomacy and sympathy with many cultures and denominations other than his own - and he never lost the fluency of the Free Church pulpit.

His wife, Velia, came from one of the small Italian Protestant churches, so that it was from the angle of minority churches to whom a European body meant a great deal, that Glen started on his ministry to European Christians, both of East and West. In all this he had Velia's devoted help, and they gave friendship and hospitality to a remarkable variety of people. International servants are not often honoured in their own country, but in days when we need to be good Europeans or perish, we should remember Glen Williams as one of the most faithful forerunners.