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A Rocha Update

By Jo Swinney | 5 November 2020

On 28 October 2019, there was a terrible road accident in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. A Rocha CEO Chris Naylor and his wife Suzanna were killed, along with Miranda Harris, one of A Rocha’s founders. Her husband Peter was critically injured and a year on continues the slow journey of recovery and grief. 


The Stewardship community, with typical generosity, raised substantial funds in memory of these wonderful people, and we’d like to thank you and give you a few updates about our year and plans for the future. Throughout human history, the transformation of places and people has proved possible against overwhelmingly hard backdrops – there is nothing new in grief, or plague, or ecological devastation. A Rocha has certainly known all of them before at different times during our nearly forty years of history. And so it is with hope, resilience and anticipation that we have been moving forwards, one step at a time.


This year, collaborative work across the worldwide A Rocha family has strengthened with the launch of the African Forest Programme and the growth of the Marine Conservation Programme and the Theology and Churches Programme. While Peru, Uganda and India in particular have been hard-hit by COVID-19, they and all our other national organisations have responded creatively and courageously to the challenges. In the case of India, in their own severe need they found the means to feed 900 local people through lockdown. 


Chris Naylor was always going to be a hard act to follow, but on 1 December Dr Simon Stuart becomes the new Executive Director of A Rocha International. He is an outstanding biodiversity conservation scientist, a committed Christian and a long-term friend of A Rocha, having served as trustee for two terms. We are grateful to God for his provision and excited for where we are headed under Simon’s leadership. 


Plans for a legacy project using funds raised by Stewardship and others are moving forward. We should be able to share our vision publicly early in 2021 – we hope you will agree it is a fitting way to build on Chris, Suzanna and Miranda’s legacy. 


Thank you, Stewardship, for your support and solidarity.


In Memory of Chris and Susanna Naylor and Miranda Harris


Posted by Jo Swinney

Jo Swinney is an author, editor and speaker. She is Director of Communications at Christian Publishing and Outreach and lives in Bath with her husband and two daughters. @joswinney


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