When Walter Wink died last Thursday (10 May, 2012), Greenbelt lost one of its most powerful and prophetic theological influences. Below, just two of those involved in the festival in the past who had the privilege of hearing and working with Walter remember him and celebrate his legacy. There will be hundreds more with similar stories to tell.
Garth Hewitt (founder of Amos Trust)
I was sad to hear the news of Walter Wink’s death. I felt that it was a great privilege that we had him several times at Greenbelt. I was strongly influenced by hearing his talks and by reading his books such as “Naming the Powers”, “Unmasking the Powers” and “Engaging the Powers”. I read books of his on no- violence and transforming Bible study – and many will have been very helpfully influenced by his book on “Homosexuality and the Christian Faith.” For me I heard him at the right time and I began to understand the incredible significance of a gospel of non-violence that rejects the myth of redemptive violence and that speaks truth to the powers. Many others will have been equally moved by him.
Strangely, one of the moments that had the deepest impact on me was when I wandered into the back of a seminar and it was a question time and somebody asked him about a passage in St Matthew’s gospel and he replied: “Yes, I think Matthew was wrong on this.” It was one of those enlightening moments when I thought, “We can say that?!” It opened me up to a far more creative and liberating view of the Bible. It’s a moment for which I am very grateful.
Martin Evans (former Greenbelt festival manager)
The importance of Walter Wink’s ‘The Powers’ trilogy cannot be underestimated. It has made an immense contribution to our understanding of our relationships with each other, with institutions and with God. But remember Walter most as a human being. Walter was warm, funny, and totally and utterly – in a gentle, twinkling way – challenging. His unique contribution was a deep understanding of the interface between theology and the psyche. The Powers trilogy will play an important role in understanding the human condition for a long time to come, and he will be greatly missed.
For me, being a part of the Greenbelt family has been such a privilege. You get to meet, listen to and share with, the most extraordinary and thrilling bunch of people, who possess deep humanity and fantastic ideas. Walter was one of this bunch. He will be remembered with love, warmth and continuing excitement – because of his ideas and his humanity. Our prayers and thoughts are with June, his wife.