Waldensian Review No 132 Summer 2018 - Page 15

Congregational Church in England and Wales, in 1972, to form the United Reformed Church, she continued to serve with the equivalent committee in the new Church. Ruth and Bill moved to Sale, near Manchester, and during the 1970s Ruth took up studying again. Her interests in literature and social justice led her to write a thesis on Othello and the use of African characters in Renaissance theatre. This was not simply a ‘theoretical discussion’: these were the years of Apartheid. Ruth represented the URC at the meeting of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches in Ottawa in 1982, and she was scandalised by the fact that the ‘White Churches’ would not accept the presidency of a ‘Coloured or Black’ person at the Lord’s Supper. She spoke in front of the entire gathering (‘The speech of my life’, she was later to call it) and received an ovation. Then she left the hall, followed by many others. The Assembly decided to suspend the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa from the Alliance. In 1980, the URC decided to renew its relationships with the Reformed Churches in Europe. Ruth was asked to go to Italy, to meet with the Walden- sian Church. She was greatly struck by the social activity of the small Italian Church in which she felt ‘at home’. Returning to England, her enthusiasm communicated to others and the ‘URC Waldensian Fellowship’ was founded. Ruth and Bill threw themselves into this new project 100 per cent. From 1983 onwards, almost every year has seen groups travelling either from Britain to Italy or from Italy to Britain. And many people, young and not so young, have been helped to spend periods of time working and learning the languages in both countries. In thanking God for Ruth (and Bill!), let us renew our own commitment to the justice of God and to fellowship between all peoples, especially among the churches. John S. Bremner [edited] 13