Bishop Brazier remembered at Sunday service

October 24, 2010 8:53:27 PM PDT
The life of Bishop Arthur Brazier was celebrated Sunday morning at the church he led for nearly five decades. Brazier died Friday morning following a five-year struggle with prostate cancer.

He was a civil rights activist and community leader, and people who knew him well are remembering Brazier as a dedicated man of God.

Sunday worship service at Apostolic Church of God was filled with plenty of music and spirit as members honored the Brazier's life and legacy.

"He impacted a lot of this community, the Woodlawn community, he impacted a lot of people that didn't have a lot going on with their lives," said congregant Tyrone Johnson. "He gave a lot of his time to the poor people here in this community."

"We are going to miss him dearly," said Angela Thompson. "He was a great man, a great leader and a great pastor."

Bishop Brazier's son, Dr. Byron Brazier, took over as lead pastor when his father retired two years ago.

Congregants spoke of the late Bishop Brazier as both a father figure and a leader.

"He did everything with such dignity, and he wanted us to show such dignity in everything that we did, so Bishop was just like daddy to me," said Sandra Robinson. "He made everybody feel as though he was just your pastor."

"He helped me out through up and downs in my life, that you never give up, keep God first, keep a positive attitude, treat everyone the same," said Tyrone Johnson.

Brazier was responsible for bringing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to Chicago in 1964. He also helped start the Woodlawn Organization to shepherd his South Side community through racial unrest and neighborhood upheaval.

Brazier served as lead pastor at Apostolic for 48 years and helped build the congregation to nearly 20,000 members

"20,000 of us... had a personal relationship with Bishop, but I do know I had a personal relationship with Bishop, and I really appreciate the things that he taught me while he was here," said Bennie Henry. "He was more than just my pastor - he was a person that really led me and influenced me in the things I'm doing in my life now."

"He was a great man, he was a great everything, a great father, as his son Byron said, good father, minister, friend, leader, activist, he was just a great man," said Abe Thompson.

The Brazier family will hold a private service this week, and a public service honoring Brazier is scheduled for Friday morning.

Church leaders expect first lady Michelle Obama, Valerie Jarrett, and a host of other public figures to attend.

Brazier is survived by his wife, his son, three daughters, seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.


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