Board of Bishops Official Statement on the Passing of Nelson Mandela
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, The Freedom Church, a church born out of the struggle for human dignity and liberation has long held deep interest for the marginalized and disinherited of the world. From our first international venture to Liberia in 1879, The A.M.E. Zion Church has kept its hand on the plow of freedom for all people throughout the world. Long before the flag of Zion was planted in South Africa, our church kept a close eye upon the life and work of men like John Dube, Walter Sisulu, and a young Nelson Mandela, one who like the others, confronted an evil system known as “racial apartness” or apartheid. Although trained in law as a professional barrister, Mandela opted to devote his life working to transform his beloved homeland of South Africa.

To this work he offered full measure and paid bitterly for it. Mandela would spend 27 years of his life living in dreadful prison conditions at Robben Island for the sake of liberating his people from a racist and unjust system. While imprisoned, the world witnessed what was occurring in the land of his imprisonment. We watched as children were murdered in Soweto. We watched as native South African people were not being permitted to vote in the land of their ancestors. We watched as justice workers were massacred without cause in Sharpeville for merely seeking to be treated with dignity. Then, the world had enough of watching and began working. From Boston to Barcelona, economic boycotts were organized and mass protests of every size were conducted to draw attention to the dreadful caste system of South Africa.

In February 1986, The Board of Bishops of the A.M.E. Zion Church along with many other Zionites were arrested in front of the South African embassy in Washington, DC as they used their collective influence to shed light upon this immoral reality. We would not rest until Mandela and all his people were free.

In time, the prayers and protestations of the global community were answered. With Mandela being released from captivity in 1990, our collective liberation was advanced as well. An important part of our human soul came out of the prison that day. From that moment, Mandela’s name was forever enshrined in eternity’s “Hall of Fame.”

On yesterday, after 95 years of struggle, Mandela was granted permanent leave from this life by his Creator. The earth and the whole of humanity mourns as we bid the man known as Nelson Mandela farewell. The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church offers our most sincere condolences as we remember a towering figure who walked amongst us. We bid to his memory our collective commitment to continue to pray and struggle for justice until all the marginalized of the world will be restored to their divinely granted right to a fully realized human dignity and equal citizenship wherever they may be.

Farewell Mandiba, our brother, Nelson Mandela!

Done this day the Sixth of December in the Year of our Lord Two Thousand Thirteen;



The Board of Bishops of The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church

The Right Reverend W. Darin Moore, President

The Right Reverend George E. Battle, Sr., Senior Bishop


Click attachment for a copy of the program from Nelson Mandela’s funeral.


 

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