Leaders from a Christian environmental charity have been killed in a horrific car accident while working in South Africa.
Peter and Miranda Harris, the co-founders of A Rocha International, were traveling with CEO Chris Naylor and his wife Susanna in Port Elizabeth when the group collided with another vehicle on a bridge and plunged into the Swartkops River below.
Miranda and the Naylors were killed, while Peter and the driver of the other vehicle remain in stable condition in hospital. In a short statement, A Rocha described the accident as “horrific” and urged prayer for the families.
“We know that this comes as a profound shock to everyone in the A Rocha Family and others all around the world,” the charity noted. “Above all, their families and friends are held in our prayers.. for those wishing to share your memories, condolences or other reflections, we have created a page on the A Rocha blog. These will be relayed to the Harris and Naylor families.”
“Shock, grief and absolute horror,” tweeted A Rocha UK’s Head of Conservation, Andy Lester, in response to the devastating news. “Please join us in prayer for all impacted by yesterday’s tragedy.”
Replying to news of the accident on Twitter, Wycliffe Bible Translators UK wrote: “To all our A Rocha family, We are saddened to hear this news and are praying for you this week at our team monthly fellowship. May God comfort you during this difficult time.”
Founded in 1983, A Rocha aims to “bring a Christian perspective to the environmental crisis,” and is involved in training and equipping believers to care for the planet.
According to a profile on the organization’s website, Chris Naylor had been heading up the charity since 2010 after 12 years as their Lebanon Director. “Prior to joining A Rocha, Chris had a wide experience of science teaching and schools’ management in the UK and the Middle East, attending Bible College and learning Arabic (in Jordan) along the way,” the profile noted.
Spending 30 years running field study centers in Portugal and France, co-founders Peter and Miranda Harris were now spending their time overseeing the international operations of the charity.
Peter, who survived the accident, is a former Anglican clergyman and English teacher. A passionate environmental advocate, Harris made it his life’s work to inspire other believers to take good care of the natural world and to place their hope in Jesus as the ultimate restorer of all things.
“Despite all the environmental devastation which I’ve witnessed, I believe that God loves his world,” he said in a profile published at the charity website, “and that will inspire great things short term and renew everything in the end.”
Chris and Susana have three children, while Peter and Miranda Harris have four. Do keep both families in your prayers at this time.