Council for World Mission (CWM) General Secretary Rev. Dr Jooseop Keum led a memorial service to honour the life of Dr Preman Niles during the weekly staff devotion on Monday 7 August 2023. Nearly 20 staff at the CWM headquarters in Singapore attended the hybrid service in person, joined virtually by CWM staff in regional offices in London and South Africa.
During the simple, solemn memorial, Dr Keum spoke about invaluable contributions of the third General Secretary of CWM, who had been trained in and actively participated in the ecumenical movement. Educated at Princeton Theological Seminary, he was instrumental in upgrading the quality CWM’s theological work, and was involved in theological work in Sri Lanka, Japan, India and more. Under his stewardship and utilising his gift and training in finance, CWM’s assets grew dramatically during his term of service. Dr Keum also shared anecdotes of his personal interactions with Dr Niles, who was intentional in building up the next generation of ecumenical leaders and had encouraged him the last time they met.
Subsequently, CWM Deputy General Secretary Dr Sudipta Singh spoke about how Dr Niles, as a prophet in Sri Lanka, stood out with his boldness, vision, and imagination – not only related to theology but toward transforming the world. Dr Singh shared about Dr Niles’ strengths in programme development, and how he had been a forerunner in conceptualising previous iterations of what eventually was birthed as CWM’s Discernment and Radical Engagement (DARE) Programme.
The CWM staff observed a moment of silence to contemplate and reflect on the life and work of Dr Niles before the closing prayer.