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Bishop: Emulate Madiba

By SEAN DOUGLAS Tuesday, December 17 2013

THE late Nelson Mandela, former South Africa President, was greatly molded by village elders, and sadly modern Trinidad and Tobago is in dire need of such mentors, remarked Anglican Bishop of Trinidad and Tobago, Claude Berkley.

He said so in his sermon yesterday at a memorial service for Mandela at the Holy Trinity Cathedral, Port-of-Spain. Guests included President Anthony Carmona, Opposition Leader Dr Keith Rowley, Emancipation Support Committee (ESC) head Khafra Kambon and several diplomats, with a welcome given by Cathedral Dean, the Very Reverend Colin Sampson.

Berkley hailed Mandela as a freedom fighter, peacemaker and a larger than life figure who symbolised the struggled for justice, equality and dignity. He said Mandela’s own sacrifices had encouraged everyone else to also work diligently towards human progress, a calling which was equally important today.

The Bishop traced how Mandela had grown up listening to the advice of tribal elders and attending tribal gatherings where he saw how everyone would contribute to a discussion which would be gently guided towards a consensus by a chief or headman. Mandela’s life showed the positive influence of a community upon a person, and the need for such to be encouraged.

Mandela also benefitted from self-discipline and education, and lived a life with biblical parallels (such as the injunction to never be weary of doing good, expressed by St Paul in Galatians 6:9).

Berkley urged that TT society now create a cadre of persons who exude a positive influence and hope in a way to nurture and sustain others. He said TT used to have such a cadre, but sadly nowadays such persons are very, very hard to find. He urged people to practice the virtues shown by Mandela of justice, forgiveness, reconciliation and peace. He urged people to focus on the bigger picture and not to have a key-hole version of God.

“We need a bigger vision,” he said. Berkley queried the viewpoint that Mandela had not done enough for South Africa, but said that Mandela’s virtues are now available for all of humanity to continue his work in advancing human progress.

Berkley prayed for God to now grant Mandela eternal rest. Rev Sampson said it was a bittersweet pleasure to commemorate Mandela, whose body was buried the day before but whose legacy would live on forever. He hailed Mandela for his indominatable spirit, kindness, vision, fortitude and magnamity of character.

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