Canadian Unitarian Universalists join in honouring the life and legacy of Nelson Mandela.
Mr. Mandela holds a special place in Canadians’ hearts – in 1998, he was the first foreign leader to be awarded the Order of Canada. Schoolchildren treated him to a joyous welcome when he launched the Canadian Friends of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund on that occasion. On his last visit to Canada in 2001, Mr. Mandela became the first living person to be awarded honorary Canadian citizenship.
Brian Stewart of CBC writes, “As time passes, we must never lose sight of how much horror Mandela’s mastery spared the world.” John Carlin, a perceptive writer who has written extensively about Mr. Mandela, observes, “What ordinary politicians have always done is seek power by highlighting differences and fuelling antagonism. Mandela sought it by appealing to people’s common humanity….The reason why he stands head and shoulders above every leader of his generation is that he showed it is possible to be a great politician and a great human being at the same time — the seamless convergence of magnanimity and power.”
Unitarians can resonate with these words from Nelson Mandela, taken from Long Walk to Freedom, 1995: “For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others.”
This Sunday, December 8th at 11:30 am, in whichever time zone you find yourself, let us together or singly, in our congregations and communities, bow our heads in silence to honour a man who has forged a pathway to peace and reconciliation for the rest of the world.