South African Methodist Pastor with MS Conf. Ties Reflects on Mandela Passing



Rev. Cecil Rhodes 

For six years, the Rev. Cecil Rhodes served in the Mississippi Annual Conference leading congregations at Leland UMC in Leland and Grace UMC in Greenville. He would eventually return to his home conference in South Africa with a promise to stay in touch with his Mississippi friends.  Rhodes recently sent them a lively message via email on the passing of South African activist and former president, Nelson Mandela. 

I thought you may be interested in knowing how things are in South Africa after the loss of Nelson Mandela. An often asked question is what effect his death may have on the country? Of course it is the early days of Mandela's passing, but the first impressions are very positive. It feels like 1990 (his release from prison), 1994 (when he was elected President) and 1995 (when South Africa won Rugby World Cup) all over again.  Across the board there is unity, peace and a common desire and commitment to make his legacy last. South Africans are mourning and celebrating. Mandela's impact and legacy are so powerful it is like he is alive forever in us! His life and death are actually great reminders of what resurrection power is all about. Love, acceptance, forgiveness and reconciliation are difficult, if not impossible, attributes to bury! Everywhere you go, whoever you meet, people are speaking about his impact in their lives. Churches, synagogues and temples across the nation paused for a moment this weekend past to give thanks for his life, and the promise of our lives together.

Methodists will be interested to know that the Mandela family and President Zuma attended a Methodist church in Johannesburg on Sunday to give thanks for Mandela's life and to honor his lifelong commitment and belonging to the Methodist Church of Southern Africa.

Christmas wishes to you all and God's richest blessings.