The Loss of a Champion for Church Renewal

Dr. James Heidinger, the president of Good News, a renewal ministry in the United Methodist Church, wrote the following note this evening to members of the Association for Church Renewal (ACR), a group related to mainline Protestant renewal ministries:
Our dear friend and colleague in renewal, Diane Knippers, died this afternoon a little before 2 p.m. She had been failing for the last several weeks and was in the midst of chemo treatments, but had weakened enough that they could not continue them. Late this morning her kidneys began to shut down and several planned procedures were canceled. Her husband, Ed, was with her, as well as her Mother and Father, Vera and Clancey LeMasters, and her brother Doug.

Diane was a dear friend and colleague and a giant among those in renewal ministry. How we will miss her and her clear, mature voice. Many of you would not be aware that Diane was on the staff here at Good News in 1981, when I came to be Executive Secretary. She helped me get settled in for that first year, helped me learn to write, and was such a wonderful help in so many ways. After a year, she and her husband, Ed, moved to Washington, D.C.He is a Christian artist and wanted to pursue his career there in the nation’s capitol. So, Diane has been a long-time friend and has remained close to the work of Good News and our RENEW Network, under the leadership of Faye Short in Georgia. She was United Methodist for many years, having been reared in a home in which her father was a UM clergyman. Some 15 or so years ago, she became Episcopalian, and was a member and a leader at Truro Episcopal Church in Arlington, Virginia.She also served on the board of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) for a number of years. She was so widely respected across many different communions of Christ’s Church. I know we rejoice and give thanks to the Father for her faithful and fruitful life.
I only got to know Diane Knippers just a few years ago. She was a gracious, kind and very articulate Christian spokesperson. I once commented, after hearing her speak privately to one of our ACR meetings in Washington, D.C., that if the national news networks would ever interview Diane regularly, instead of the typical Christian Right faces they routinely put on television, their cover would be blown big time. (Diane was among the twenty-five most influential evangelicals listed in Time magazine’s recent cover story.) She will be greatly missed by many of us who worked with her for the renewal of the older, historic, Protestant American denominations. The Kingdom of God has lost a very good woman and a truly first-rate leader.