Clergymen concerned about Mandela

2013-06-14 13:27
Bishops from the All-Africa Bishops' Council hold hands while praying for former president Nelson Mandela outside the Pretoria hospital where he is being treated. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

Bishops from the All-Africa Bishops' Council hold hands while praying for former president Nelson Mandela outside the Pretoria hospital where he is being treated. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Prayers for Mandela in Cape Town

2013-06-14 12:27

Religious leaders from various walks of life gathered in St George's Cathedral on Friday to offer prayers for ailing former president Nelson Mandela.VIEW

Pretoria - Churches in South Africa are anxious about former president Nelson Mandela's health, clergymen said on Friday as they visited the Pretoria hospital where he is being treated.

The delegation of clergymen, led by Bishop Abraham Sibiya of the Christ Centre Church in Pretoria, arrived at the Medi-Clinic Heart Hospital in Arcadia to pray for Mandela.

"We are deeply concerned about his health, as the church in South Africa. We pray that God will give him a speedy recovery and make him strong," said Sibiya.

"We have come to pray that Mandela’s family all over South Africa may be strengthened in this difficult time. We pray that God will comfort them and give them a will to move on."

'Epitome of reconciliation'

He said Madiba was an epitome of reconciliation, not only for South Africans, but for the world.

"He is a very good example of how the whole world should respond to the crises that they face. Tata Mandela taught us that we can put aside our differences [and] hostilities to join hands and pray together."

Sibiya said he was hopeful the elderly statesman would recover soon.

"Let us believe together. Let us all come together, hold hands all over the world. Let us call upon God so that he would heal [former] president Mandela."

He said a prayer session would be held outside the hospital because there were restrictions on entering the facility.

"We are not going to go inside, we are restricted from going in. We are not able to go inside," said Sibiya.

"We can pray anywhere. We have come to uphold the former president in prayer."

He said Mandela family members might join the prayer session.

Sibiya, a member of the International Bishops' Conference, was accompanied by bishops from the All-Africa Bishops' Council.

Security remains tight

Some well-wishers on Friday morning left several messages at the main entrance of the hospital.

Colourful get-well-soon messages were printed on large pages and cards attached to the hospital's wall next to the security checkpoint.

Mandela was hospitalised in the early hours of Saturday morning with a recurring lung infection. The presidency said he was in a "serious but stable" condition.

Security at the hospital remained tight on Friday, with several police officers searching all vehicles entering the facility's two entrances.

A media scrum of local and international reporters and broadcasters has been stationed outside the hospital since Mandela was admitted on Saturday.

The elder statesman's family members have been spotted at the hospital several times over the past six days.

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Read more on:    nelson mandela  |  religion

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