Monday, 16 April 2012

Ray Davey - a founder of Corrymeela

A Service of Thanksgiving and Celebration

At 12 Noon on April 20th a Service of Thanksgiving and Celebration for Ray’s life will take place at Fisherwick Presbyterian Church, 4 Chlorine Gardens, Malone Road, Belfast, led by the Rev Dr Derek McKelvey and Rev Dr Inderjit Bhogal.

Corrymeela - the 'Open Village' Community

"Corrymeela is people of all ages and Christian traditions, who, individually and together 
are committed to the healing of Social, Religious and Political divisions 
that exist in Northern Ireland and throughout the world."

Kathleen and Ray Davey

I just received the sad news this evening that Rev Ray Davey (1915 – April 16, 2012) had passed away this morning. I first met Ray in 1962 when he was a Presbyterian chaplain at Queens University Belfast and I was a student fresher. Our paths reconnected in 1971 when I visited the Corrymeela Centre in Ballycastle. I got involved with the initiation of Junior Council of Social Service (JCSS) in Coleraine the same year and formed a bond between the two which was of great benefit to me and to the young people who passed through JCSS. Ray was my role model and a tremendous source of inspiration; we desperately need more such role models. For me, Corrymeela was a place that was open to all, rather than an encounter between two traditions.

Main House

Ray: "We hope that Corrymeela will come to be known as ‘the Open Village’, open to all people of good will who are willing to meet each other, to learn from each other and work together for the good of all."


Ray: "The early Sixties were times of listening and learning to discern the signs of the times and the later Sixties of commitment to the journey for peace. .. From the very start the idea of community has been very central in Corrymeela. No doubt, it was this that drew many people to it at the beginning and continues to do so. This search for togetherness is, indeed, very much part of everyone’s inner life. The desire to belong, to be accepted and to be wanted are parts of being human"

I'm sure Ray would have endorsed these words expressed by Sr Souboris in 1973: "Thank you for directing to us young people of such unselfishness and reliability. Each in his own way made a valuable contribution to the holiday. I personally learned a tremendous amount from their unselfishness. I only wish more people in our divided communities could experience how easy it is to love and live together once the will to do so is there"

At Work

Ray on the early years of Corrymeela: "The continual stream of young people who came to the work camps was a vital part of this period. From these early work-campers many of the leaders of Corrymeela emerged. Then when violence really began Corrymeela was able very quickly to readjust many of its programmes to meet the new challenges of people and families at risk in troubled areas, with intimidation, injury and bereavement becoming so much part of the scene."

At Play

Jim Scott, QUB fresher 1963: "A group of us would reside at the Presbyterian Community Center in Belfast between terms thanks to Ray's hospitality. Particular religious affiliations crossed the gamut and were never questioned."

David Ford: "He was a huge inspiration to many of us who are working for peace and reconciliation, whether in politics, the church or community organisations. I had the privilege of working with Ray as a staff volunteer in Corrymeela and remain grateful for the opportunity he gave me and the example he set."