The Potter's House of Denver dedicated their Sunday services to Nelson Mandela's memory as members gathered to praise and worship while they heard an inspiring message on Mandela's legacy.
Led by Dr. Chris Hill, who is considered by many as Bishop T.D. Jake's protégé, the 7,000-member congregation is one of the largest churches in Colorado that brings together members of different multicultural backgrounds each Sunday. Hill preached his encouraging message, "Letters from Robben Island," in reference to Mandela's prison site and to make the point that any man can change a nation.
"We're losing the people that truly inspire…Still, the 11 o'clock hour on Sundays is the most segregated hour in the country so this church is living against that tide," said Hill, reports Denver's KDVR-TV. "To us, Nelson Mandela, his work with desegregation and his work with unifying a country has great significance."
Mandela's legacy strikes a personal chord with Hill as he has traveled several times to South Africa for evangelical events and has even visited the cell in which the iconic leader was held as a prisoner. In addition, services from The Potter's House are broadcasted to South Africa, to an average audience of one million each week. On Sunday, Hill echoed the anti-apartheid icon's message of forgiveness while reminding his church that change begins with only one person.
"We just really want to mark his life with a message of forgiveness and peace ... I'm imagining if he were to write us a love letter from where he was imprisoned he would tell us to forgive, he would tell us that one voice has significance," Hill said, according to Denver's 9News.com.
He added, "We are closer than we thought. Distance is an illusion, the struggle of a man in South Africa resonated with the whole world. Mandela shows us that when you forgive you really get out of prison."
Mandela, a prisoner turned President, died at age 95 after battling several health issues including a lung infection. His message of reconciliation inspired millions around the world after he negotiated a peaceful end to segregation and forgave the white South African government that held him as a prisoner for 27 years.
Churches throughout the world also paid tribute to Mandela's legacy on Sunday including London, Pakistan and Israel. In South Africa, millions of residents also gathered at worship houses in honor of a national day of prayer.