World Council of Churches Office of Communication
Press Release
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13 June 2000

Marlin VanElderen (1946-2000)

It is with great sorrow and a sharp sense of loss that the World Council of Churches (WCC) shares the news that its executive editor Marlin VanElderen died yesterday, Monday, 12 June, at the age of 54. He was a member of the Christian Reformed Church in North America.

VanElderen’s life was marked by long-term and dedicated involvement in the ecumenical movement and in the life of the Council. A US citizen, he joined the WCC as a consultant in the Communication department in 1980. In 1982 he became editor of the monthly magazine "One World" and in 1994 he was appointed executive editor for all WCC publications.

After his studies at Calvin College and Harvard University, he joined the editorial staff of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. From 1971 until 1981 he was managing editor and later editor-in-chief of the Reformed Journal. VanElderen was a member of the Board of Directors of the "Associated Church Press" (1977-1980) and consultant to the magazine The Banner (1974-1980).

During his 18 years of service for the WCC, VanElderen was one of the key staff persons in interpreting the work, the mission and the vision of the WCC. As managing editor of the WCC journal Ecumenical Review, he provided a platform of discussion to ecumenism worldwide. Countless WCC books and brochures owe their existence to his skills as a writer and editor. Marlin VanElderen was just about to finish his work on the new edition of the Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement when he died early Monday morning of a massive heart attack. He leaves his wife Meribeth, his four daughters Kimberly, Amy, Abigail and Elizabeth as well as his parents, Mr and Mrs Bas VanElderen.

An official WCC tribute to Marlin VanElderen will follow.

Some Recent Publications by Marlin VanElderen:

VanElderen, Marlin
Common understanding and vision : A survey of the discussion in the WCC / Marlin VanElderen - 1997
Ecumenical Review vol. 49, no. 1, January 1997, pp. 3-12.

VanElderen, Marlin
Demeurons ensemble : Exposition, cinquantième anniversaire 1948-1998, Conseil oecuménique des Eglises / textes: Marlin VanElderen ; conception générale: Peter Williams. - Genève : Conseil oecuménique des Eglises, 1998.
(English version: Staying Together...)

VanElderen, Marlin
Introducing the World Council of Churches / Marlin VanElderen. - Geneva : World Council of Churches, 1990.

VanElderen, Marlin
Towards a common understanding and vision / Marlin VanElderen. - 1991
Ecumenical Review vol.42, no.1 (January 1991), pp. 138-145.

WCC 50th anniversary and eighth assembly feature service [vol. 1] : Articles to mark the 50th anniversary of the World Council of Churches, and to prepare for its Eighth Assembly to be held in Harare, Zimbabwe, 3-14 December 1998 / World Council of Churches Office of Communication. - Geneva : World Council of Churches, 1998;
VanElderen, Marlin - Happy birthday WCC.

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The World Council of Churches is a fellowship of churches, now 337, in more than 100 countries in all continents from virtually all Christian traditions. The Roman Catholic Church is not a member church but works cooperatively with the WCC. The highest governing body is the assembly, which meets approximately every seven years. The WCC was formally inaugurated in 1948 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Its staff is headed by general secretary Konrad Raiser from the Evangelical Church in Germany.