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Nelson Mandela's Wesleyan Roots



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Yesterday the Board of General Superintendents of the Church of the Nazarene posted the following tribute to Nelson Mandela on their Facebook page:

Yesterday, the world lost a great leader. We offer our deepest sympathies to the family of Nelson Mandela, and we join the people of South Africa and others around the world who mourn his loss.


Mandela, affectionately known by his clan name, Madiba, served as South Africa’s first black president from 1994 to 1999. He was known for his role in both ending apartheid and working to create reconciliation in the days that followed. Mandela modeled a life of forgiveness, hope, and peace.


Mandela shared our Wesleyan roots. He was baptized in a Methodist church as a child in South Africa’s eastern cape, and he was educated in a Methodist school, which was started by Methodist missionaries. In his autobiography, The Long Walk to Freedom, Mandela also shared his belief in the work of the church when he wrote, “The Church was as concerned with this world as the next: I saw that virtually all of the achievements of Africans seemed to have come about through the missionary work of the Church.”


Today, as we reflect on the legacy Mandela left behind, we pray that as the Church of the Nazarene, we will continue to live as people who are concerned about our world today. We pray that together we will point to Christ as we model His forgiveness, hope, and peace in our lives.


—The Board of General Superintendents



I especially appreciated this quote from Mandela: “The Church was as concerned with this world as the next: I saw that virtually all of the achievements of Africans seemed to have come about through the missionary work of the Church.”

This is the synthesis of vital personal faith and social vision that characterizes the Methodist movement at its best.










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