Thinking Anglicans

In memoriam Desmond Tutu

picture of Desmond TutuDesmond Tutu (picture from the Church Times)

The funeral of Desmond Tutu was today. Below are links to a number of articles about him.

Church Times: Obituary: The Most Revd Desmond Tutu and From our archives: Interview: Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus of Cape Town (2006)

Richard Burridge The Spectator The Father I knew: A tribute toDesmond Tutu

Adriaan van Klinken The Conversation February 2020 Desmond Tutu’s long history of fighting for lesbian and gay rights.
Follow this link to reach the full text of the chapter from which the above article is an excerpt.

Andrew McGowan The Conversation July 2021 Radicalism mixed with openness: how Desmond Tutu used his gifts to help end Apartheid

Chris McGreal Guardian When Desmond Tutu stood up for the rights of Palestinians, he could not be ignored.

Two archive news items (hat tip Rod Gillis) on the ordination of women:

1989 Washington Post: Ban on ordination of women causes anguish for Tutu
2014 Huffington Post: Archbishop Desmond Tutu Awesomely Calls Out Religious Leaders Who Won’t Ordain Women

Earth and Altar Richard Pryor Desmond Tutu: The Full Flowering of the Anglican Social Gospel

Here is the text of a sermon preached at Southwark Cathedral in 2004 and you can listen to a 2007 sermon preached at St Albans via this link: St Albans gives thanks for the life and witness of Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

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Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
21 days ago

Interestingly, in a letter to today’s Times of London, Mark Oakley calls for “a brave Tutufication of the Church” with reference to the Church of England. As I understand it, his is a plea for our bishops to have the courage to be more authentically themselves, rather than refusing to break ranks from whatever the official line might be.

Richard W. Symonds
Richard W. Symonds
Reply to  Allan Sheath
20 days ago

Thank you to TA for your excellent New Year’s Day tribute to Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, and to Allan Sheath for drawing attention to Mark Oakley’s Times letter.

In 2022AD and beyond, we desperately need ‘Tutu-Mandela Bridge-Builders’ – as a critical pre-condition not only for the survival and well-being of the Church, but also for the survival and well-being of Humanity.

Last edited 20 days ago by Richard W. Symonds
Michael H.
Michael H.
Reply to  Allan Sheath
20 days ago

Allan Sheath – I also read the Tutufication letter and I agree with the point about bishops refusing to break ranks. I am astonished, whenever Archbishop Welby mis-speaks, all the bishops remain silent. Some of them surely balked at his first response to the situation in Ghana. The good ship of bishops is remarkably united despite their wide churchmanship. I’m not sure that’s good or healthy. I recall Tutu visiting Birmingham in 1989, including a poorly attended rally at Villa Park, all arranged and heavily promoted by the Bishop of Aston, against a lot of local hostility in the media.… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Allan Sheath
20 days ago

Is it the case that CofE bishops are following the party line, or is it that they have a policy of not (in public) following any line whatsoever? I was struck by this text in the piece by Bishop Paul Bayes linked on TA on 22nd December: “in my early days as a bishop I tried to inhabit a vacuum of opinion. I believed that this vacuum is the proper place for a bishop, the only place that a “symbol of unity” in the Church could possibly sit.” Do the Bishops in the Church of England have a policy of… Read more »

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
21 days ago

It would be good for Archbishop Tutu to be commemorated in the Calendar. He died on St Stephens’s Day but I think the date of his birth – 7 October- is available.

The readings could include the passage from Micah which was read at the funeral and provided the text for the sermon- What does the Lord require but that you do justly, love kindness and walk humbly with your God?

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  Simon Bravery
20 days ago

There is an Anglican rule, one of the few that is actually kept(!), that persons are not considered for commemoration in the calendar of a member church until 50 years have elapsed since their death. There is an exception for those who have been martyred, hence the inclusion of Janani Luwum, Oscar Romero, and the martyrs of the Solomon Islands in the English calendar. So the Church of England may soon consider including non-martyrs who died in the 1960s and up to 1971, but not yet anyone who has died more recently.

Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
20 days ago

I’m not surprised. I understand it’s 20 years for an English Heritage blue plaque and there are similar rules in the Roman Catholic Church for canonisation. I am the one person equivalent of the crowd at John Paul II’s funeral shouting “ Santo subito!.”

Stanley Monkhouse
Reply to  Simon Bravery
20 days ago

FWIW, which is of course nothing, I think it too soon. Not one of us is without blemish and according to some there are concerns about Tutu’s attitude to Jewry. I’m uneasy about institutional commemorations generally (“there’s no better way of forgetting something than by commemorating it”). The best strategy is surely to follow the precepts, as he tried to, of Micah 6:8.

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Stanley Monkhouse
19 days ago

Are those “concerns” about anything other than telling the truth about what he saw in Israel-Palestine?

I agree, however, that such things should not be rushed.

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Simon Bravery
19 days ago

According to a report in today’s The Times (Monday 3 January 2022, page 13, ‘Brixton plaque to honour Darcus Howe‘), a blue plaque is to unveiled tomorrow (4 January) on the building that currently houses the Brixton Advice Centre in Railton Road, Brixton (the street where the 1981 Brixton riots began), in honour of black rights activist Darcus Howe. The report states that the plaque was “created by the Nubian Jak Foundation, which works with English Heritage.” Howe died, aged 74, in 2017, so it would appear that the ’20 year’ rule Simon Bravery refers to is also not immutable.

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  David Lamming
19 days ago

I think this may not be an English Heritage plaque, but a Nubian Jak Foundation plaque. See link below for an image of the plaque.

https://brixtonblog.com/2021/12/blue-plaque-for-darcus-howe-on-brixtons-railton-road/

David Lamming
David Lamming
Reply to  Simon Dawson
19 days ago

Simon — The link you provide (which would appear to be the source for the report in The Times) has this paragraph: “The plaque that honours him [Howe] is one of a number created by the Nubian Jak Foundation, which works with English Heritage.” I did say in my earlier comment that the report in The Times states that “the plaque was “created by the Nubian Jak Foundation, which works with English Heritage.” True, it is, that the plaque (as illustrated in the brixtonblog article) has the words ‘Nubian Jak Foundation Trust – Black History Walks’ around the edge, but… Read more »

T Pott
T Pott
Reply to  David Lamming
18 days ago

The English Heritage website says EH will not consider applications for blue plaques where the person has not been dead for twenty years or more. It also says: “If your nomination for a blue plaque is turned down, you could consider approaching other schemes run by local authorities, such as Westminster City Council’s Green Plaques scheme. Other active schemes include those run by the Heritage Foundation – which puts up plaques to figures who worked in entertainment – and the Nubian Jak Community Trust, which commemorates prominent black historical figures”. EH has only a limited budget for blue plaques and… Read more »

James Pratt
James Pratt
Reply to  Simon Kershaw
14 days ago

The Canadian church has added to its calendar a number of commemorations of persons less than 50 years after their deaths:
Florence Li Tim-Oi
John XXIII
Lindel Tsen, Bishop of Honan
John Charles Roper, Archbishop of Ottawa

Plus Luwum, Bonhoeffer & Kolbe, and the Martyrs of New Guinea

Interested Observer
Interested Observer
Reply to  Simon Bravery
18 days ago

Perhaps student unions could rename the Winnie Mandela, oh, sorry, Aung San Suu Kyi room which is currently looking for a new dedicatee?

For clarity, I don’t have any reason to think that Tutu will turn out to be problematic in the way they were. But then, at the time they were being feted, no-one thought they were going to turn out to be problematic in the way they were. It’s always as well to wait a while before metaphorically, still less literally, canonising people.

Last edited 18 days ago by Interested Observer
Simon Bravery
Simon Bravery
Reply to  Interested Observer
18 days ago

The students’ Union at King’s College London ( Archbishop Tutu’s alma mater) named its bar and nightclub Tutus with his agreement. Whenever he was in London he would visit Tutus and there would always be a pint of cider waiting for him on the bar. He is also one of the alumni celebrated with a picture and brief details of his time at King’s on Strand, next to George Carey. Perhaps he would have preferred to be remembered in the name of a bar than with a mention in the church calendar.

Dominic Barrington
Dominic Barrington
Reply to  Interested Observer
17 days ago

One might say his name was especially appropriate for a university setting, given how many people leave such places with 2.2s…

Jo B
Jo B
Reply to  Dominic Barrington
16 days ago

Even more specifically appropriate for a bar as both a “Desmond” and a “drinker’s degree” are nicknames for the lower second degree classification.

Father Ron Smith
20 days ago

Archbishop Desmond Tutu did not wait for his retirement to show his Love for ALL people, whom he believed to have been made in the very Image and Likeness of the God he served. In his passion for Justice, +Desmond not only fought against apartheid, but also against anything that separated one human being from another – including the classification of race, gender or sexual-orientation. A True Leader and a shining light for the Anglican Church in the Global South! Now with his Lord! May +Desmond now rest in peace and rise with Christ in glory!

Last edited 20 days ago by Father Ron Smith
Rod Gillis
Rod Gillis
20 days ago

Re: Archbishop Tutu coverage, Good selection of articles. Thanks. All the best to TA in the new year and to the C of E into the unknown future. Per ardua ad astra.

Jonathan Jamal
19 days ago

I watched on You tube yesterday the Funeral Mass of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, which I found very moving and done by Archbishop Thabo Magoba with great dignity. I seem to remember reading somewhere that Archbishop Desmond was a Third Order Franciscan, his life and ministry certaintly exhibited many Franciscan values, in his radical way of living and bearing witness to the Gospel of Christ. As to Bishops living in a Vacuum, without making too much of a Pun of it, we are either as a Christian Church spread across the Various denominations a Prophetic Church, or we end by being… Read more »

Kate
Kate
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
18 days ago

This is not a thread on which I want to get into discussion of anything other than ++Desmond, so I will simply say that I very much agree with you Jonathan.

Father Ron Smith
19 days ago

Richard Burridge’s lovely memoir of his relationship to Archbishop Desmond Tutu, remarks on his insistence of embarking on a celebration of the Eucharist before other ministries of the day. This marks +Desmond out as a purposeful convenor of Christ to be at the heart of that ministry, from which he was empowered to faithfully carry it out. Ave, Vale, to a great priest! Daily Mass is a wonderful inspiration and enablement for ministry.

Allan Sheath
Allan Sheath
Reply to  Father Ron Smith
15 days ago

There is an amusing postscript to Richard Burridge’s account of that train journey to Exeter. +Desmond was concerned to follow protocol and – as a visiting bishop – seek the diocesan bishop’s blessing before celebrate Mass in the latter’s jurisdiction. “Whose diocese are we in now?” asked +Desmond as the train sped west. The consensus was that it could be Salisbury, but possibly Bath and Wells, and even Exeter by the time the eucharistic prayer was said. In the end, the lack of a phone signal settled matters.

Jonathan Jamal
19 days ago

I read that After Archbishop Desmond’s Funereal his body was aquamated if I have spelt that word correctly. Reading this I was very curious to know what Aquamation actually involved in terms of process as it is a new one to me! I looked this up on the Internatet and I discover that it is certainly not another form of Cremation, but quite a different process to Cremation. Whereas in Cremation practice and process it involves the destruction of the body by Fire, by mechanical means using either Gas or Electricity in the incinerators used at Crematoriums, Aquamation involves placing… Read more »

Ian Hobbs
Ian Hobbs
Reply to  Jonathan Jamal
19 days ago

According to wiki (so it must be true…) it’s slightly different to your search result. An outstanding issue is disposal of the resulting liquid.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alkaline_hydrolysis_(body_disposal)

Kate
Kate
18 days ago

The picture is really quite lovely. In it you can see both intelligence, joy, and I believe, love. May he rest in peace.

Froghole
Froghole
18 days ago

In default of any comment by April Alexander, I should just add, by way of a footnote, that Mervyn Stockwood had a tendency to put square pegs in round holes. Sometimes this worked disastrously; sometimes brilliantly. The decision to send Desmond Tutu, who was then studying for his M.Th. at KCL, to Bletchingley, in east Surrey – the heart of the gin and Jag belt and a former rotten borough – was in the latter category. It could have been a disaster, but turned out to be a triumph. That it was so was in no little part due to… Read more »

Last edited 18 days ago by Froghole
Sarumite
Sarumite
Reply to  Froghole
18 days ago

Speaking as a native of Bletchingley, it is rather less “Gin and jag” belt than one might suppose and has even elected the occasional Labour councillor! There are two large areas of social housing at opposite ends of the village as well as some nearer the centre where I lived. The church however was regarded as a “gentry” concern until quite recently. Trevor Tutu was briefly at the village primary school in the same year as me until he was removed to a fee paying school about a mile out. It seems that the local gentry clubbed together to pay… Read more »

Froghole
Froghole
Reply to  Sarumite
18 days ago

Many thanks for that, Sarumite! Well, yes, there are the council units put up at the Nutfield/M23 end of the village, and in the area by the primary school/Tilburstow. However, the parish as a whole, like so many in Surrey, is rather more than the village and was a strip unit which went from Chaldon and Caterham down to the Sussex border (it was not until 1705 that Horne was detached), so that it would have a section of the North Downs for sheep walk and clean water and the greensand and low weald for pannage or arable once assarted.… Read more »

Simon Dawson
Simon Dawson
Reply to  Froghole
18 days ago

Thanks for that information, it is fascinating to reflect how chance friendships can transform a person’s life, and if that person goes on to have national, or even international, significance, then such friendships can have significant later influence.

It is often said that it was the friendship between Nelson Mandela and Cecil Williams, a friendship forged in much danger and adversity, that led to South Africa being in the vanguard of African homosexual equality.

https://www.sahistory.org.za/people/cecil-williams

https://www.theguardian.com/world/1999/may/30/nelsonmandela.philipfrench1

Jonathan Jamal
17 days ago

reading Comments on whether Desmond Tutu should be commemorated in the Anglican Calendar, it is true that the Anglican Church generally both within the Church of England and the wider Anglican Communion has no formal liturgical process for canonising Saints unlike my own Church or the Orthodox Church, however you will be interested to know that a Monk of my former Community, the Community of the Transfiguration was formally Canonised by the Anglican Church of Tanzania in recent years, and this person was Bishop Neil Russell or Brother Neil as we called him in my Community or St Neil Russell… Read more »

Peter
Peter
16 days ago

The notion of canonisation is entirely alien to the New Testament. All those who repent and believe in the Gospel are saints.

Desmond Tutu was a notable and important figure, particularly in South Africa. The world should and probably will continue to mark him out as a significant person.

His position in the church of God is the same as the rest of us. A confessing sinner with feet of clay.

Simon Kershaw
Simon Kershaw(@simon-kershaw)
Admin
Reply to  Peter
16 days ago

The term “canonize” refers to the addition of someone’s name to the canon, i.e. to what we would call the eucharistic prayer. In the Roman Catholic Church it signifies that that Church considers that the named person has some ability to have their prayers heard and acted upon. The Church of England does not “canonize” people, but it still does add people to its calendar of commemorations. In doing so it makes no statement about the current status of that person, but is only saying that the person’s earthly life is, overall, worth commemorating as a particularly good example of… Read more »

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