Letter to H.E. Mr Nelson Mandela, South Africa, 18 July, 2006
Dear brother in the struggle for liberation and justice!
It has not escaped our attention that you are today marking the 88th anniversary
of your birth. It is indeed right that the world is united in celebration of you,
Madiba, who represent so much for so many of us.
No human person today has gained a greater stature of integrity and righteousness
than you. We give thanks to God for your life, and for the wave of justice
and reconciliation which swept your nation and the whole region as you
stepped out of that prison cell only a few years ago. How far have we journeyed
since you were once branded a terrorist and incarcerated for your principles!
How well we in the WCC remember your presence among us at the Harare
Assembly in 1998, your generous recognition that the "WCC's support exemplified
in the most concrete way the contribution that religion made to our liberation"
while so rightly reminding us that the ideals and values to which we aspire
"must be our guide in the unfinished journey that we have travelled together".
The WCC stood steadfast with you and your fellow fighters for justice and
truth during those dark years, despite the humiliating chorus of criticism. We
learned much during that struggle about the cost of dignity, and these lessons
accompany us as we confront other injustices in other regions, in the Middle East,
in Africa, and elsewhere.
We pray that you may enjoy many more years of wisdom and hope, breathing
the air of freedom to the full, and continuing to inspire all of us, young and old
alike, who continue to believe that miracles are possible and that we can, together,
make a better world.
Happy birthday, and may God richly and specially bless you this day and always!