Miranda Harris †
On Monday 28 October 2019 Peter and Miranda Harris, co-founders of A Rocha, and Chris Naylor, A Rocha International CEO, together with his wife Susanna, were involved in an horrific car accident in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, in which Miranda, Chris and Susanna did not survive.
With her husband Peter, Miranda was involved in setting up and running field study centres in Portugal and France for almost 30 years. Along with their four children and cross-cultural teams they welcomed countless people of all ages from many countries to share in the life of the centres and the work of creation care. They continue to be involved in some of the 19 countries where A Rocha is active. Now working half-time for A Rocha, Miranda has a particular passion for building communities where love for Christ and an authentic shared life ensure a welcome for all-comers.
Before her untimely death, this is what Miranda had to say about her work with A Rocha:
What’s the main focus of your job?
Peter and I spend a lot of time visiting the National Organizations. That involves attending meetings with the team and the board, touring their projects and most importantly of all, listening, seeking to understand their work and especially, any tricky situations. As an outsider to the project, I can often pick up on undercurrents and so I especially focus on team relationships, as misunderstandings can be a problem for any group of people working closely together, but when the group is intrinsically cross-cultural, the dangers are greater.
What do you enjoy most?
The challenge of communicating in other languages and cultures. I speak French and Portuguese, but in some countries I need the help of a translator, which is always interesting.
Have you any special memories?
Many! Mealtimes are often particularly rich in good stories and conversations. As just one example, I’ll never forget a barbecue with A Rocha Czech when over twenty of us sizzled sausages one starry night around a blazing fire behind the centre.
Is there a regular theme to your prayers for A Rocha teams?
I often pray for good communication within teams, for transparency, unity and a clear direction for their work.