FOR news on Richard Deats and other long-time leaders
It would be hard to find someone active in or closely connected to the Fellowship of Reconciliation in the past four decades who does not know the name, if not the face and voice, of long-time FOR leader Richard Deats. Richard has served FOR in countless capacities, including two stints as executive director, a long tenure as editor of Fellowship magazine (for which he is editor emeritus), director of interfaith relations, FOR-USA representative to the International FOR, and much more.
So, for those friends of Richard who have not yet heard, we are sorry to report that he is in recuperation from a serious head injury suffered last month. In mid-December, Richard fell one late evening when exiting a music rehearsal, and his head hit the ground. As he had discussed with me at length earlier that day, he had been experiencing macular degeneration in one of his eyes; it led to some disorientation and dizziness, and it is expected this was a cause of the fall.
Richard was held for several days at Nyack Hospital, and since then Richard has been healing at the Ramapo Manor, a rehabilitation facility in Suffern NY. The Deats family set up a website for friends and family to inform friends and family of Richard’s health progress. You can access this Caring Bridge website by clicking here and (after setting up a free account on the site) using this password for Richard’s page: richard117. Brief, almost-daily reflections are being posted there.
His family and friends are paying him regular visits. A colleague and I spent an hour with him two weeks ago, and at the time it was evident that his physical health was weak and his memory was poor. However, our conversation was full and enriching, and was a marked improvement over those others had experienced in the prior fortnight. Yesterday, FOR Executive Director Mark Johnson paid another visit to Richard, and his report was even more encouraging. Mark writes, “His voice was strong, his presence solid, and the conversation focused on the day’s events.” It is evident that his healing is continuing and, hopefully, accelerating.
We invite your continuing prayers in the coming weeks for our beloved brother Richard’s health and for the needs of his family.
Secondly, we are deeply saddened to report on the deaths of two beloved FOR members who served with distinction on our National Council.
Tarek El Heneidy served on National Council from 2003 to 2009, and held the position of treasurer of FOR as well as chairing the Council’s finance committee. He participated in several FOR programs and international delegations. Tarek died on January 4 in Rockport, Massachusetts. An obituary is published here.
Dennis Bricking, an active member of the Louisville FOR chapter and a lifelong advocate for the poor, served on National Council from 2008 to 2010. Dennis had sought to participate in a FOR civilian diplomacy delegation to Iran, but given the political challenges of the past three years, that desire had not yet been fulfilled. He died on January 12th in Louisvile; an obituary is published here.
Third and finally, the peace efforts of two other former National Council members deserve widespread attention and support.
Rita Nakashima Brock was profiled in The New York Times this month for her cutting-edge work in the area of “moral injury.” Rita is author of several compelling books, including a new title addressing this topic, Soul Repair.
Carol Bragg is in the midst of a 30-day fast that is focused on a call to our political, religious, and community leaders to renounce violence and support nonviolent resolution of conflict. Her appeal can be read on FOR’s website, including multiple updates from Carol, and can also be tracked on this Facebook page.