Edmond Perret, former head of global Reformed church movement, dies
The former general secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC), the Rev. Edmond Perret, died on March 24, aged 87, in Geneva.
“The Reformed family of churches worldwide has lost a brilliant mind, a loving leader and a pastor committed to societal transformation,” said General Secretary Setri Nyomi of the World Communion of Reformed Churches (WCRC) in a statement on 28 March, according to a WCRC news release.
Perret served as General Secretary of WARC from 1970 to 1989. In 2010, WARC merged with the Reformed Ecumenical Council to become the WCRC.
The Swiss ecumenist’s tenure as general secretary was marked by growing church opposition to apartheid rule in South Africa. In 1982, under his leadership, WARC’s highest governing body declared apartheid to be a sin. The General Council, meeting in Ottawa, Canada, approved a statement saying that the theological justification of apartheid was heretical.
Perret was born July 30 1925 and ordained in the Protestant Church of Geneva in 1950. Following graduate theological studies at McGill University in Montreal, Perret served as a pastor in the United Church of Canada from 1951-1956. His time in Canada included a two-year stint as editor of the church’s French-language newspaper. He served as president of the Synod of the Protestant Church of Geneva from 1964-1966.
Perret, who maintained close contact with the global Reformed church movement in his retirement years, never lost his sense of social advocacy.
In a video message to the General Council that launched WCRC, Perret pointed to similarities between the global economic crisis and the story of Genesis where humankind seeks control over God’s creation. “The present global crisis,” Perret said in the video, “is a wish for power, of which the power of money is not the least.”
Perret was predeceased by his wife Simone in 2005. He is mourned by his children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren as well as by his extended family. The funeral was held April 2 in the parish of the Protestant Church of Geneva in Satigny (Geneva).
WCRC’s 230 member churches represent 80 million Christians.