Archbishop Desmond Tutu has died

The death of Archbishop Desmond Tutu (always known as Arch) is news that we receive with profound sadness – but also with profound gratitude as we reflect upon his life. My prayers and condolences are with his family and all who loved him, with the Anglican Church of the Province of Southern Africa, and all of the people of South Africa.

Arch’s love transformed the lives of politicians and priests, township dwellers and world leaders. The world is different because of this man.

Archbishop Tutu was a prophet and priest, a man of words and action, one who embodied the hope and joy that were the foundations of his life. He was a man of extraordinary personal courage and bravery: when the police burst into Capetown Cathedral, he defied them by dancing down the aisle.

He was a man of enormous vision: seeing the possibilities for building the Rainbow Nation long before anyone else, except perhaps President Mandela.

His vision and bravery were allied with a canny political sense and wisdom, enabling him to be a healer and apostle of peace while so many still saw wounds and war.

He was a pioneer, the first Black Archbishop of Capetown, the pioneer of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.

He was a great warrior for justice who never stopped fighting – whether it was for those in his own country, for inclusivity in the South African Constitution, or for those suffering injustice around the world.

When you were in parts of the world where there was little Anglican presence and people weren’t sure what the Anglican church was, it was enough to say “It’s the Church that Desmond Tutu belongs to” – a testimony to the international reputation he had and the respect with which he was held.

Most of all he was a Christian disciple – that was the root of everything else.

After meeting him, many would speak of being in the presence of one who brought God close to them. His joy, grace, laughter, hope and life caught up those around him with a sense of Jesus Christ.

It was Jesus’ love we saw in his eyes, Jesus’ compassion we heard in his voice, Jesus’ joy we heard in his laughter, Jesus’ face we saw in his face. And it was beautiful and brave.

His greatest love is now realised as he meets his Lord face to face.

We are thankful today for such a life so well lived, even as we feel the sorrow of such great loss

Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury


I just wanted to add a picture.


That’s sad to hear – but what an amazing legacy he leaves.

I once came across a children’s book he wrote called “Let There Be Light,” which was a retelling of the creation story in Genesis – it might have been the first one I read that was more lyrical than literal, which was a nice change from what I was used to.


Here’s a wonderful (free access) article from the NY Times:

Desmond Tutu, Whose Voice Helped Slay Apartheid, Dies at 90


Unfortunately I’ve never heard of them but will read the links. Thought maybe this would be an appropriate place to list another, though not trying to make it a death list.

But one of my favorite entomologists passed away earlier today. Known especially as a ant specialist. E.O. Wilson. In at least the southeastern part of USA you almost can’t go to a park without a bench, a trail, an outlook viewer or bridge that is dedicated to Wilson.

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You should definitely learn about the great Archbishop Desmond Tutu! He was much like the Rev. Doctor Martin Luther King, a Black minister who fought to free his people in South Africa from the oppressive racism of apartheid. Unlike King, he wasn’t murdered and lived to see the fall of apartheid. He also advocated for LGTBQ+ rights, etc.

We could use a Truth and Reconciliation in the US! :slight_smile:

I enjoyed this video by BBC. Archbishop Desmond Tutu: Looking back at his life and legacy - BBC News

I do remember him being quite blunt–something that doesn’t go over well with many of us, but seems to work well for those who can communicate with that.


The Very Rev. Dr. Michael Battle , the Herbert Thompson Professor of Church and Society at General Theological Seminary, delivered our 2020 Fall Theology Lecture . Prof. Battle introduced us to Archbishop Tutu’s spiritual life and how it shaped his commitment to restorative justice and reconciliation . He also offered insights into how Archbishop Tutu was able to persevere against a system that opposed his own humanity.

Listen here : Desmond Tutu: A Saint for Our Times

Some biblical folks were quite blunt


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