by Johnny Zokovitch
Executive Director, Pax Christi USA
One of the great gifts of being part of this movement is the relationships one forms with some truly extraordinary people. For me, one of those people is Bruce Kent of Pax Christi England and Wales, who passed away on June 8. If you don’t know much about Bruce, I encourage you to read some of the links to tributes and obituaries honoring him at the end of this post.
I didn’t know Bruce well, but got to meet him in person through my work in the early 2000s with Pax Christi USA and then shared a regular email correspondence with him while I was at Pax Christi International. His emails to me were marked by the wit that anyone who knew him well would immediately recognize. We had a long back-and-forth, for instance, trying to solve tech issues at his end related to the formatting of the Pax Christi International emails I would send him. He jovially would write me insisting that my emails were impossible to read because the format I sent them out in would arrive all wonky in his inbox. I’d redesign them just for him sometimes only to have the redesign not come out right at his end too. To this day, I wonder if he was putting me on and just enjoyed the camaraderie of writing back and forth. For me, what came through was his warmth and kindness, his appreciation for me as someone a couple of generations younger than him but also caught up in the passion he had for making our world more peaceful, more just. He entertained my mistakes with good-natured ribbing, helping me to grow within my role at the International Secretariat while also making me feel valued for the work I was doing.
Bruce was truly one of the giants within the global Pax Christi movement. I first became aware of his work through Jo Clarke, Pax Christi USA’s former development director and one of our new Ambassadors of Peace. Jo shared with me articles Bruce wrote or ones in which he was featured (right up through recent months), highlighting his work for nuclear disarmament in particular. As his family wrote in their initial announcement of his passing, “It was Bruce’s Christian faith that brought him to reject nuclear weapons as fundamentally immoral because, even without their use, nuclear deterrence itself depends on a willingness to commit mass murder.”
All of us at Pax Christi USA join with those in Pax Christi England and Wales, his family and his friends, in grieving the loss of Bruce. We give thanks for his witness and his life and we call on his intercession now as a member of that great cloud of witnesses to bless the work we do to follow through on the commitment to peace that was central to his own life.
Bruce Kent – Presente!
Read more on Bruce at these links:
- Bruce Kent, peace campaigner, has died
- Bruce Kent biography
- Bruce Kent, a true man of peace
- Bruce Kent: tributes paid as peace campaigner dies aged 92
- Bruce Kent obituary – Anti-nuclear weapons activist and retired priest who was the driving force behind CND in the era of Greenham Common
- Tributes pour in after ‘inspirational’ peace campaigner and Oxford alumni dies