In memory of Bruce Kent

Blessed are the peacemakers, they shall be called the children of God

In memory of Bruce Kent (1928-2022)

By Arianna Andreangeli, Executive Committee Member, Pax Christi Scotland

What does it take to make peace? What does it take to work tirelessly, to stand there next to the weak, to speak truth to power even when all seems lost?

Over my 23 years of allegiance to Pax Christi, I have been blessed in my apostolate as worker for peace by the presence of many friends in this journey.  Bruce Kent was one of them.  I met Bruce in 1999 when I was volunteering at the Pax Christi hostel in Kentish Town.  The day we were taking down the beds and loading the van, Bruce and his wife Valerie turned up with flasks of tea and sandwiches to feed 12 or so young volunteers and a few other friends who had come in to help.

Moving to the UK to pursue doctoral studies four years later, I became involved more deeply in peace work, and so Bruce and I crossed paths again.  Bruce became a regular presence, a constant witness and example for me.  Bruce never lost sight of the reality of politics, of the need to bridge gaps as opposed to deepening ridges, yet he never wasted any time as he sought to call the haughty and mighty to account.

In 2006, together with Ann Farr, now Pax Christi England & Wales chair, Ann Kelly, the much missed Margot Hutchison and a few other local Birmingham volunteers, we helped hosting the AGM in Chapter House, in St Chad’s Cathedral.  Bruce, together with Valerie, Pat Gaffney and other friends, had arrived on the train, bearing one of his famous bread loaves and his unforgettable voice.  He found us, walked across and threw his arms to our shoulders, saying, ‘”Well I never! In the home of the archbishop, I found not the arch but the best Brummie hosts.”

Today the winds of war blow again, and working for peace seems to be an uphill task.  The passing of peacemakers like Bruce Kent fill us with sadness, yet at the same time we have their legacy, which pushes us along.

So, for every time I ask, “What would Bruce do?” I gather strength to keep on going, marching, writing and speaking.  For I know Bruce would have not stopped the work of peace, the work that is not done till the Kingdom comes.

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