Ron O’Grady honoured at the National Council of Churches Executive Meeting

June 10th, 2014

Rev Ronald Michael O’Grady

 

Churches of Christ

 

1930 – 25 February 2014

 

The National Council of Churches in Australia along with the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA) notes with regret the death of Rev. Ron O’Grady on 25 February 2014, at the age of 83 after a battle with cancer.

 

Rev. Ron O’Grady served the CCA as Associate General Secretary from 1973-77 and again for a brief spell in 1978. Ron was the director of the Australian Council of Churches, World Christian Action for 4 years during 1983-86.

A tireless champion for children’s rights and founder of child protection agency ECPAT (End Child Protection, Child Pornography and the Trafficking for Sexual Purposes), Rev. Ron O’Grady will be remembered as “the person who brought the issue of child trafficking to the world’s attention.” After returning to his homeland he established Child Alert in New Zealand.

 

Another arena where he made an indelible mark is with regard to the burgeoning growth of mass tourism. During his time as Associate General Secretary of the CCA, he was visionary enough to see the oncoming tsunami that was tourism. He was among a band of a few pioneers who seriously questioned the impact of injustice and inequity on vulnerable communities through this leisure activity promoted as benign and a boon. Then, as now, tourism was already being advanced as a ‘smokeless’, costless tool for developing societies in the framework of global, free market economics. Along with close colleagues, including the late Rev Peter Holden and Fr Bonnie Mendes, Ron played a significant part in organising the landmark International Third World Tourism Workshop of churches and civil society in 1980 in Manila. The consciousness that was engendered and was spreading led to the establishment of the Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism (ECTWT), to be known later as Ecumenical Coalition On Tourism – ECOT), and entities such as EQUATIONS in India and the European network TEN, and other formal and informal advocacy efforts around the world.

 

The NCCA gives thanks to God for the life and ministry of Ron O’Grady, his contributions to ecumenism in Australia, New Zealand and Asia.

 

Recommendation

 

1. The NCCA Executive recognise with appreciation the life of Ronald Michael O’Grady and the ecumenical contribution he made to the churches in Australia as Director of Christian World Action of the Australian Council of Churches for four years (1983 – 86). Ron’s contribution to the CCA as Associate General Secretary for the period 1973 -1977, 1978. He later represented the Churches of Christ at the Christian Conference of Asia General Assemblies. As a committed ecumenist he contributed to the fabric of ecumenism in Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He will long be remembered for his work in establishing the Ecumenical Coalition on Third World Tourism (ECTWT), ECPAT International (End Child Prostitution in Asian Tourism) and Child Alert in New Zealand.