In Remembrance of Nelson Mandela

December 10, 2013

A Message from President Julius R. Scruggs

The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. joins with others around the world in paying tribute to the life and legacy of President Nelson Mandela, who was a leader of extraordinary courage, compassion and commitment. What a blessing he has been and will continue to be to the global community!

We express our profound condolences to his family, and we pray that God will help all of us to practice Mandela’s virtues of humility and forgiveness.

Keeping Mandela's Legacy Alive - A Message from the Home Mission Board

Nelson Mandela was one of God’s great gifts to humanity. Millions of people of all colors, nationalities, race and, or ethnicities join his country in both celebrating and mourning his long deserved departure into the bosom of his God.
He will be long remembered for the golden nuggets of truth that dropped like pearls from his mouth of wisdom: “Religion is one of the most important forces in the world. Whether you are a Christian, a Muslim, a Buddhist, a Jew, or a Hindu, religion is a great force, and it can help one have command of one's own morality, one's own behavior, and one's own attitude."
"There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way leads to defeat and death."
"There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children." —
"What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead."
"I am not a saint, unless you think of a saint as a sinner who keeps on trying."
As we reflect on the many honors and accomplishments of his life-giving sacrifice, we begin to understand with greater clarity two of the many honorary titles given by his country--Father of democracy and Son of Africa. With sound reasoning, embedded and enshrined in his legacy are such words as love, freedom, equality, justice and forgiveness. There is, however, a title that summarizes for me the collective impact of all these words--Uniter-in-Chief.
As a national prophetic leader Nelson Mandela united a nation that could not have been further apart: A nation deeply divided by loyalties that were not only skin deep but vision and values deep. Therefore, only time will reveal how true and how deep the unification of this nation is that has been forged on a foundation that includes tremendous violence, bloodshed and death.
As our nation continues planning it’s honoring of the legacy of another prophet, Dr. Martin L. King, Jr., Dr. King reminded us through his own nuggets of wisdom that people can be integrated bodily while remaining segregated in their hearts. We can make integration laws but not legislate morality.
We learn from history that to be united does not automatically mean "unified." Persons who are united in marriage are not necessarily "unified" in their hearts with respect to the same values and principles. Some marriages are legal arrangements for political and economic purposes. Their being united legally has nothing to do with the potential moral or ethical unification of their hearts.
There are national marriages through treaties. The heart of these nations can remain as divided as ever as far as are moral, ethical and spiritual values. The United States is legally united as a nation of states but we have some states, if they could have things their way, would pack up and
walk away from the union.
In the future we will find out the depth of South Africa's unity. A word on the streets of South Africa is frightening if true. Allegedly, there are leaders in high places who have been biding their time, anxiously awaiting this day when Nelson Mandela would take his last breath and step off the scene.  The word on the street is they plan on re-instituting Apartheid, or reinforcing and advancing the spirit of Apartheid. There are persons in high places who have never accepted Nelson Mandela as their legitimate President.
Persons who truly celebrate Nelson Mandela and Dr. King as God-given gifts to their respective nations must keep alive more than their memory. We must keep alive their legacy of a unifying spirit. Continual truth, love, freedom, justice, fairness and the awesome power of forgiveness are riding on our capacity to do more than remember. Otherwise, the wrong people will win and those who gave their blood, sweat, sacrifices and lives would have done so in vain.
Rev. Charles E. Mock
Executive Secretary
Home Mission Board

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                       December 12, 2013 
Washington, DC
Dr. Barbara Williams-­Skinner 301-­‐318-­‐9841                                                                                  Dr. Otis Moss, Jr. 216-­‐469-­‐8013                                                                                                   Ms. Latraviette Smith – 212-603-9406


We, leaders of predominantly African American denominations, other faith leaders and civil rights leaders call on individuals, churches and organizations to honor President Nelson Mandela with an act of solidarity on the day he is laid to rest, Sunday, December 15, 2013. Across the nation, please join us in “a minute of remembrance.”

It is impossible to think about Nelson Mandela without thinking about Martin Luther King, Jr. While separated by great physical distance, the walk to freedom for Blacks in America and Blacks in South Africa was fueled by an inextricable spiritual connection personified in the lives of these two men who changed the world for the better.

As a freedom fighter and a unifier, Mandela reminded us, “Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great, [we] can be that generation.” He understood that bitterness and hatred were poison to the soul. As President of South Africa, he modeled forgiveness and reconciliation in a way that left the world in awe. For his noble fight, his personification of forgiveness and his ongoing inspiration to create a better future, we pause in national unity to honor, salute and remember Nelson Mandela.
Mandela’s life serves as an inspiration to people everywhere to continue the fight for freedom and equal opportunity. As we pause on Sunday, let us pledge to continue the unfinished business to which this great, yet humble, servant dedicated himself.

On Sunday, December 15, 2013, we ask African American organizations, churches and community members across the country to join us in a “moment of remembrance” dedicated to Nelson Mandela, his life and his legacy through a number of special activities such as: a Minute of Silence; Liturgy; Youth Presentation/Recitation of Mandela quotes; Dance ministry performance/dedication; or other events as desired. In support of this unified effort, we affix our names:

The Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, Jr.
Pastor Emeritus, Olivet Institutional Baptist Church
The Reverend Dr. Barbara Williams-­‐Skinner
Co-­‐Chair, National African American Clergy Network
The Reverend Dr. T. DeWitt Smith, Jr.
Co-­‐Chair, National African American Clergy Network
Mr. Marc H. Morial
President and CEO, National Urban League
The Reverend Dr. Carroll A. Baltimore
President, Progressive National Baptist Convention, Inc.
Bishop George E. Battle, Jr.
Senior Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
Bishop Charles Edward Blake, Sr.
Presiding Bishop and Chief Apostle, Church of God In Christ, Inc.
Bishop John R. Bryant
Senior Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Church
Ms. Melanie Campbell
President and CEO, National Coalition on Black Civic Participation
The Reverend Dr., Ambassador Suzan Johnson Cook
Founding President, Women In Ministry International
The Reverend Dr. Frederick D. Haynes, III
Chair of the Board, The Proctor Institute
Bishop Reginald Jackson
Regional Senior Bishop, African Methodist Episcopal Church
Ms. Lorraine C. Miller
Interim President and CEO, NAACP
Bishop Paul S. Morton
International Presiding Bishop, Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International
The Reverend Dr. Julius R. Scruggs
President, National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
The Reverend Al Sharpton
Founder and President, National Action Network
Bishop Paul A. G. Stewart, Sr.
Senior Bishop, Christian Methodist Episcopal Church
The Reverend Dr. Stephen Thurston
President, National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
The Reverend Dr. C. T. Vivian
President, Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Bishop Edwin C. Bass
President, COGIC Urban Initiatives, Inc.
Bishop Michael Kelsey, Sr.
Executive Treasurer, Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International
The Reverend Dr. Otis Moss, III
Senior Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ
The Reverend Talbert Swan, II
Advisor To Church of God in Christ Presiding Bishop On Social Justice/Public Policy
“There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.” -­‐ Nelson Mandela