Geneva 28 December 2021
For this God is our God forever and ever; God will guide us even beyond death.
Dear Archbishop Rev. Dr Makgoba, Dear brothers and sisters,
On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I write to express our deepest condolences on the passing of Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Mpilo Tutu. We mourn with you and the entire world at this tremendous loss for our Christian family, and in particular for the African continent.
First and foremost, we honour Desmond Tutu as associate director of the Theological Education Fund of the World Council of Churches between 1972 and 1975. Through the influence of liberation theologies from the Global South, he contributed to the transformation of theological education towards a more critical and justice-oriented model.
We also recognize and honor the tremendous leadership of Tutu as he guided and led peace work and reconciliation not only in southern Africa but worldwide. He played a crucial role in many of the World Council of Churches meetings and assemblies. To mention only two, he addressed the 5th World conference of Faith and Order, in Santiago de Compostela in 1993 and the delegates and participants at the 9th Assembly in Porto Alegre in 2006. We thank God for giving us Archbishop Tutu for 90 years. Through his life and work he has become an image of dignity and freedom for all human beings and inspired many to use their gifts and talents in the service of others and the mission and prophetic task of the church.
Desmond Tutu’s lifelong commitment to ministry and to leadership first in South Africa, already during Apartheid and then throughout the world was evident in his role as
priest, ecumenist, leader, and servant of God. In addition to his global leadership, we know that Tutu continued to provide for the basic human needs of those who were marginalized and seeking justice.
Our prayers are with you during this difficult time and, as your World Council of Churches family, we hold all those related to Desmond Tutu in our hearts and in the unity of our common faith in Christ.
With faith and continuing Christian love and prayers, may you be comforted in this time of loss and transition.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Prof. Dr Ioan Sauca
Acting General Secretary
World Council of Churches