Bishop Eric, 84, passed away last week Thursday (17th June) at his home at the St John’s Cottages after a long struggle with cancer.
Eric, the third bishop of Port Elizabeth, was elected as Bishop in 1993 — translating from the Diocese of Grahamstown.
We knew him as a man of deep prayer and a heart for the poor and social outcasts.
As Frankie Simpson, iindaba editor recalled: He showed this by doing three major Prayer Walks: The first, a “pilgrimage of Prayer, Presence and Protest’, in April 1999, was from a farm in Addo where Matt and Wanda Lawrie had been murdered.
“This walk took him from Addo, through the townships along the way, and through Port Elizabeth, to below the Van Staden’s bridge where he prayed against the forces of darkness that were causing many to jump from the bridge committing suicide.
“Then he donned sackcloth on 26 August 1999 and walked from St Barnabas to the Law Courts to hand over a personal statement against rape to the Chief Magistrate. He was accompanied by members of the Mothers’ Union and friends holding placards reading ‘Real men do not rape,’ ‘No leniency and no bail for rapists.’
“And, in 2019, he led the Transformation Christian Network Nehemiah Prayer Walk of 200kms through all the Wards in the Nelson Mandela Metropole. He was able to communicate with many people who approached him and asked for prayer as he walked.”
Having grown up in the Transkei, where he attended Butterworth High, and where he came to saving faith in the Town Hall after a visit by an East London-based Youth For Christ team, Bishop Eric spoke isiXhosa fluently.
He trained as a teacher at Graaff Reinet Training College before starting his teaching career at Queen’s College in Queenstown, before following his call into the ordained ministry, eventually starting his ministry in Komgha. He also was rector in East London before being elected suffragan bishop and was based in Queenstown.
Bishop Eric, having retired in January 2001 and moved to Cape Town, returned with Joyce to the Diocese almost 10 years ago where they have enjoyed their stay in St John’s retirement cottages.
Bishop Eric also wrote three books which are available from St John’s office.
Amongst other things Eric was a Voyager in the Aidan and Hilda Celtic Community, and a founder guardian of the Mzansi Community, its South African equivalent.
Eric leaves behind Joyce, his sister Polly, and seven children, along with 17 grand children.
- The tribute from his funeral will be published next week in our newsletter.
To the family and friends of Ann Wilson and Frikkie van Zyl who passed away this week. Please keep them in your prayers. The memorial service for Frikkie will be on Tuesday, 29 June @ 11am. The memorial service for Ann will be on Friday, 2 July @ 11am.
Teaching series on
“Hearing God Speak”
Starting on 6 July at 10am and 7pm.
Cost R150 including study guide.
Contact Michelle (064 682 0443)
or Allan (076 906 6334)
WE ARE OPEN…
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