PWRDF director lived his vocation

Published April 1, 1999

My own recollection of Robin begins with his beginning with PWRDF. I was serving my first term on the national committee at more or less the same time.

One of my clear remembrances of that time is of language. I found it distressing within a group of church people who were focused on peace as well as development that often our words were the words of war and violence. Support is always appreciated when one speaks up with concerns/objections in a group where one is new, and Robin spoke up in my support. We talked about that during my last visit with him just before Christmas, when he reminded me that I was the first person to visit him in hospital when he had his first emergency surgery.

When I returned to the committee as the chair, often Robin was minute-taker for meetings. An onerous task when meetings continue for hours at a time, he could always add a touch of humour, catch points made with understanding and clarity and prepare thorough and helpful minutes.

From my many visits to the PWRDF offices I would recollect his great relationship with staff. colleagues who kept paper under control, who aspired to his job, who loved the fact that he listened to them, not only in regard to work but in terms of any personal problems which might be distressing their lives. He had a capacity to bring people together. I remember Robin’s wonderful negotiating skills and his capacity for insight and analysis.

I believe that many people thought of Robin, as a friend. He was a good friend. He was a person who kept in touch with his friends. He also had good friends because he was a good friend and family member.

He was committed to the need to struggle for equity, for justice and opportunity for development. To Robin, I think we might all agree, was also given the peculiar wisdom for his fulfilment of the vocation to which he responded. He had a sense of individuals and their needs and could focus on one person. At the same time he could keep in mind the needs of the whole body – whether it was friends, family, church or development groups.

Robin did indeed grow to a great spiritual awareness of the words of the prophet Micah: “What does God require of you but to do justice and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?”

Diane Maybee spoke of being on the interview team that first hired Robin (I was on the team that hired him as director). We all felt, “Didn’t we do a great thing?”

How grateful I am to have had the experience of Robin and his strengths, his wisdom, his humour in my life.

Dorothy Davies Flindall is former chair of the PWRDF committee.


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