Nobel Laureate Tutu brings laughs, advice

I was at Saint Mark’s when Archbishop Desmond Tutu visited his friend, the Very Rev. Robert Taylor.

Reverend Taylor was a great supporter of the homeless and others marginalized and minimized throughout our culture.

On one occasion, Reverend Taylor told a number of us what Archbishop Tutu had done to help him escape a possible prison term in South Africa.
Thank you, Archbishop Tutu, for showing the world how to create a Reconciliation Commission as you did in South Africa.
Here in the states, we could use a Truth & Reconciliation Commission of our own.

Seattle – 11 May 2006 – Tan Vinh – Seattle Times staff reporter

“Decked in a purple cassock, retired South African Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu stepped into St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral on Wednesday to celebrate the church’s 75th anniversary.

But it was his laugh — a hearty, head-back, hands-on-tummy roar echoing throughout the church — that announced to the crowd the Nobel Laureate had arrived in Seattle.

The charismatic Tutu kicked off his two-day tour with a morning visit to St. Mark’s, where he was to receive a lifetime achievement award later at a $150-a-plate dinner.

The public can hear him preach at the Festival Evensong at St. Mark’s at 7 tonight. Cathedrals such as St. Mark’s have a special place in society, he said at a news conference.

It’s “a place of innovation, a place of excitement and exhilaration,” Tutu said. “It is also a place that embraces, and a place that is on the cutting edge of gospel.

“St. Mark’s is what a cathedral should be,” said Tutu, making his fourth visit to the Capitol Hill church in the past 20 years.

The man who helped end apartheid in South Africa didn’t speak much of the ongoing violence in Sudan and the Middle East but said he wished the United States and Iran would “defuse the tension” and resolve their dispute over Iran’s nuclear ambition peacefully.

Tutu, who led the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa, a courtlike body that allowed victims of violence to be heard, reiterated that the United States would benefit from a similar exercise to deal with racism.

Racism, he said, is “a pain that is hitting the tummies of most African Americans and Native Americans.”

For the most part, Tutu kept his news conference informal with jokes. He also shared some private time with his friend, the Very Rev. Robert Taylor, dean of St. Mark’s Episcopal Cathedral, whom Tutu helped bring to the United States in 1980.

Taylor, who was a finalist for the position of bishop of the Diocese of California, said his mentor seems to love every moment of life. Tutu “has a huge dose of joy and laughter,” said Taylor, the founding president of the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation, which raises money for Tutu’s peace center in Cape Town, South Africa.

After Tutu’s sermon tonight, the church will hold a reception in honor of St. Mark’s anniversary as well as Tutu’s birthday. He turns 75 in October.

“The archbishop is excited to blow out the candles on the joint birthday cake,” Taylor said.

Before Tutu took off for the Hunt Club on Seattle’s First Hill for some mushroom soup and a margarita on the rocks, Taylor asked Tutu to say a prayer. The archbishop obliged, but not before offering some general advice on life.

“There are two rules in this establishment,” he deadpanned. “Rule No. 1 — the boss is always right.

“Rule No. 2 — in case the boss is wrong, refer to rule No.1,” said Tutu, as he burst into laughter.”

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