Bishop John Robert Osmers, CNZM, New Zealand-born anti-apartheid activist and retired Anglican Bishop of Eastern Zambia, has died.
Bishop John was well known in our diocese and his dedication to those on the margins was an inspiration to all who were privileged enough to be in conversation with him. We ask for your prayers to be with his immediate family, Elizabeth and Derry Gordon and his wonderful nieces and nephews, and also with his ecumenical friends that represent the global church. Bishop John will be sadly missed as he was a man that lived the Gospel’s call to practise justice and reconciliation, and to stand on the side of the poor.
This Saturday 26 June at 2 pm in the Transitional Cathedral all are welcome at a memorial service celebrating John’s mission and ministry in South Africa, Botswana and Zambia. It can also be viewed here.
Read two tributes below, the first by Fr Jim Consedine, and the second by Pauline McKay, CWS
Bishop John Osmers died in Lusaka early this morning from heart complications.
For five decades, John was a towering figure in Southern Africa, where, among other duties, as a chaplain he was part of the liberation struggles for decades. His thinking was that if the military of various countries were allowed chaplains, why wouldn’t the liberation movements, especially the ANC? Consecrated bishop of a new diocese about 20 years ago, John retired from ‘active’ ministry about 6 -7 years ago – but remained very active despite his increasing blindness and age For some years had has returned regularly to NZ to live with his sister Elizabeth and brother-in-law Derry in New Brighton. He had returned from here about six months ago to Zambia to ‘lobby the government there on the issue of refugees’ which were central to his post–retirement ministry. He knew the President of Zambia personally, as he did most other Southern African leaders of his generation.
He will be sorely missed by our CW community, whom he engaged with at every level. Let us keep him and his whanau and friends in our prayers at this time,
[Written by Fr Jim Consedine]
- To read a tribute by CWS National Director, Pauline McKay, please click here.
- To read a tribute in the Chch Boys’ High School’s Straven Rd publication, by Nigel Vernon & Mark Burtt, please click here.
Image Credit: Christ’s College Bishop John Osmers (centre) with Christ’s College Chaplain Rev Bosco Peters (left) and Rev Peter Williams, a CWS volunteer.