With love and in sorrow – a tribute to A Rocha leaders from the Middle East

31 October 2019

The Ammiq marshes in Lebanon, which the Naylors were involved in restoring. Image: Joel Kelling

With many others around the world, the Anglican Alliance grieves for the tragic loss of Chris and Susanna Naylor and Miranda Harris in a car accident in South Africa on Monday. Miranda and her husband Peter, who remains in hospital, were co-founders of A Rocha, the profoundly influential creation care organisation that has helped so many people connect their love of God and love of the natural world. Chris was the CEO of A Rocha International and his wife Susanna a leading light too, as attested below. We offer our heartfelt condolences to the Harris and Naylor families and the wider A Rocha community.

Joel Kelling, the Anglican Alliance’s regional facilitator for the Middle East says, “the work the Naylors did in establishing A Rocha Lebanon, working to restore the Ammiq Marshes, and emphasise creation care in the life of the Arabic Church is remarkable, and their legacy lives on in the work they inspired. For me, Chris’s work is an inspiration to do all I can to encourage greater participation in the renewal of God’s creation”.

Revd. George al-Kopti and his wife Mary worked alongside the Naylors throughout their time in Lebanon. Mary here pays tribute to her friends:

“Even while writing this, I am finding it so hard to believe that they left us. The more I think about them the more I see the size of loss. They left behind a great legacy in Lebanon. Their name will always be associated with A Rocha Lebanon… In a dream the Lord showed Susanna where she would be staying one day, and she shared this with me a long time ago. The Lord showed her in a dream a beautiful valley, and I kind of forgot how she described it. But it was where the Lord brought them to live later on. She knew that He wanted them to be there. ​

 “Chris and Susanna believed in the Church’s role in caring for creation. They saved no effort to support my role communicating with churches and spreading the message of God’s love for His creation. ​

“The sad news of their tragic death took me back in my memories to many years ago when I was part of the A Rocha Lebanon team. During my 5 years at A Rocha, I saw both Chris and Susanna serving the Lord with grateful hearts and abundant joy. For over four years we met, worked, prayed, and enjoyed the beauty of God’s creation. ​

“There were times when I thought (and I guess I was right) that they knew every corner in Lebanon.​

“I remember how hard it was for them to leave.​

“They had much love for Lebanon. The long hours driving back and forth from Beirut to Bekaa valley and other areas in Lebanon produced a well-established A Rocha Lebanon. ​

“The shocking news has left me & George speechless; no words can describe our feelings.​

“Our comfort comes from knowing that they are with their Lord right now”.

Please keep Peter Harris and the car driver in your prayers as they recover from their injuries and for the Naylor and Harris families.

Please also pray for the staff of A Rocha, who have lost not only friends but also treasured colleagues, that the organisation may continue to contribute so much in service to God’s mission here on earth.