05 December 2013

Statement on the death of Nelson Mandela

The Revd Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Conference, said:

"Nelson Mandela is regarded as one of the fathers of Africa. His persistent way of standing up for justice has inspired Africans and the world at large. As a leader, one of his most impressive attributes was his emphasis on peace and reconciliation in the post-apartheid regime.

"Nelson Mandela attended Methodist missionary schools during his formative years. His understanding of Christian values was reflected in his passion for social justice. Representatives from the Methodist Church in Britain who were fortunate to meet Mandela have spoken about him with admiration: he was a welcoming, gracious and charismatic leader of exceptional ability who did not hold any bitterness about what had happened to him. During the years of his imprisonment on Robben Island, Mandela was visited by a Methodist chaplain. He will always remain loved and honoured in our hearts."


Roy Crowder was the Africa Secretary for the Methodist Church in Britain from 1999 to 2009. He lived in Cape Town from 1983 to 1999, where he worked as a lecturer at University of the Western Cape, and met Nelson Mandela three times.

He said:"As the crisis in South Africa deepened in the late eighties it became clear that Government was negotiating with the ANC. The newspapers still could not print Nelson Mandela's picture but they discussed his future role intensely. No one could have lived up to the expectations that were built up in that frantic period. But miraculously Mandela did! He grew to be the global political leader without feet of clay, which was exactly what his supporters had projected during the Free Mandela campaign. He even risked alienating those supporters by donning the Springbok rugby jersey and having tea with Betsie Verwoerd, the widow of man who jailed him. Such iconic actions instilled a spirit of unity into the politics of a tragically divided country."


Steve Hucklesby of The Joint Public Issues Team has also made a statement:
See  www.jointpublicissues.org.uk  

The Revd Andrew Pratt has written a hymn in commemoration of the life of Nelson Mandela, which is available for all to use on the Singing the Faith Plus website

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