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Music, readings and prayers at St Paul's in memory of Nelson Mandela

06 December 2013

The Dean, Chapter and entire community of St Paul’s Cathedral are deeply saddened to hear of the loss of Nelson Mandela; former president of South Africa, figurehead for a post-Apartheid nation and one of the great statesmen of world history.

A hero in his own country, Nelson Mandela’s role as a purveyor of peace and reconciliation means he was much loved in all corners of the world.

The Very Reverend David Ison, Dean of St Paul's, said: "So many owe so much to Nelson Mandela: a man who journeyed through violence and suffering to become inspirational, humble, self-sacrificial and patient - a statesman who took the long and world-embracing view and worked for the good of all, not just of his own community. We thank God for his life and service to humanity; and we pray for God's love and mercy to embrace his family and his country, and to inspire each of us, in our own times and places, to make peace with integrity and to serve others above ourselves, for our own good as well as theirs. May he rest in peace, and rise in glory."

Choral Evensong – Friday, 6 December, 5pm

Today’s news is a significant moment for this country and for London, a city which he visited on a number of occasions. As such, St Paul’s will make a number of special arrangements at this evening’s 5pm Choral Evensong service. 

Everyone is very welcome to this service and a special invitation is extended to members of the South African, wider African and worldwide communities here in London.

A special Bidding will be made by the Reverend Canon Philippa Boardman, Treasurer and Canon in Residence.

The choir introit will be changed to Holy is the true light by William Harris.

The choir anthem will be changed to Justorum animae by Matthew Martin.

The souls of the righteous are in the hands of God.
No evil torment can touch them.
In the eyes of the foolish, they seem to die, but they are in peace.
 

The hymn Be thou my vision, O Lord of my heart, will be sung and the Cathedral Organist will improvise on the South African National Anthem, Lord bless Africa’ (Nkosi sikelel’ iAfrica).

The two Bible readings for the service will be changed to:
Wisdom 4: 8-11, 13-15 "He pleased God and was beloved”, and
John 14: 1-6 "Let not your hearts be troubled.”
 

The prayers will focus on the life and death of Nelson Mandela and will include the following especially written prayer:

Father in heaven,
we give you thanks for your servant Nelson Mandela.
We praise you as we recollect his life and cherish his memory.
We bless you that, in bearing your image,
he brought light to the lives of your rainbow people
and hope to everyone who is imprisoned by prejudice and fear;
for we have seen in his leadership reflections of your compassion,
in his integrity demonstrations of your goodness,
in his faithfulness glimpses of your eternal love.
Grant to each of us the grace to follow his good example
So that we with him may come to your everlasting kingdom;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
who died and rose again and opened the gate of glory,
to whom be praise for all eternity.
Amen.


There will also be a two-minute silence.

The retiring collection will be donated to the Canon Collins Educational and Legal Assistance Trust.

A statement has also been released by Archbishop Justin Welby. You can read that statement here.