Professor R.J. (Sam) Berry

Professor R.J. (Sam) Berry
We are sorry to hear that Prof R.J. (Sam) Berry died on 29th March 2018. He had several health issues in the last few years. Sam was Emeritus Professor of Genetics at University College, London, and had a distinguished scientific career. His work on the genetics of the house mouse and on island species was particularly important. He wrote numerous articles and many books. Sam was a former president of the Linnean Society, the British Ecological Society, the European Ecological Federation and Christians in Science. A reader in the Church of England, Sam also served on General Synod.
Sam’s retirement in 2000 coincided with a time when the Christian environmental movement in the United Kingdom really started to grow, and he devoted much time and energy to this area.  He was a great supporter of A Rocha and was on their Council of Reference. He was also on the Advisory Board of the Faraday Institute.
But how do we remember him in JRI?
Sam was one of the founding fathers of JRI and served on the Board for some years before becoming a Vice President. He formed a great partnership with Sir John Houghton, representing as they did the biological and physical sciences. Without these two there would be no JRI. Sam was also a strong supporter of Christian Rural and Environmental Studies (CRES), our distance learning course. He passionately believed that Christians needed better education on environmental issues and theology. Sam was involved in the initial negotiations with Christian Rural Concern, who were our first partners in running the CRES course. He also wrote a module “Biological Environment” for the course.
Sam wrote or edited many books on Christianity and the environment, and “The Care of Creation” (IVP 2000) was the set book for CRES for many years. Sam’s 2006 edited volume “Environmental Stewardship: Critical Perspectives, Past and Present” (T&T Clark) remains the major source book on stewardship. His very latest book “Environmental Attitudes through Time” (Cambridge University Press) is just being published and is due out at the end of April 2018.
We will all miss Sam. He was very generous to JRI in many ways. Sam was incredibly knowledgeable across a very wide range of disciplines. He was a very committed evangelical Christian. But we will miss his wisdom most of all. His legacy to us is a strong Christian environmental movement in the United Kingdom, one which we must continue to build. We send our sincere condolences to Sam’s wife, Caroline, and to his whole family.
Martin Hodson
Further Information:
A Rocha obituary: (Now archived)
Church of England Newspaper obituary (behind a paywall):
The Times (family) obituary:
The National Biodiversity Network obituary:
Ruth Bancewicz gives a wonderful tribute to Sam in “The Myth of the Holy Hierarchy” published in Christianity Today
Sam Berry was the second editor of the Biological Journal of the Linnean Society (1978-1990). As a tribute, they have produced a virtual issue of his contributions to the Journal: