Services set for Bishop Brazier

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Bishop Arthur M. Brazier, pastor emeritus of Apostolic Church of God and longtime civil rights activist, will lie in repose Thursday from 12 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the church, with a service for the congregation to follow at 7 p.m.

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Bishop Arthur M. Brazier, pastor emeritus of Apostolic Church of God and longtime civil rights activist, will lie in repose Thursday from 12 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the church, with a service for the congregation to follow at 7 p.m.

On Friday, a viewing will be held from 8 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., with a public service at 11 a.m.

Brazier lost a five-year battle with prostate cancer Friday. He was 89.

He took the helm of the South Side mega-church in 1960. He retired in 2008, turning over the pulpit to his son.

"We will indeed miss him," the Rev. Brazier said in a letter to the congregation. "Yet, we will mourn his passing and celebrate his life with the dignity and grace for which he was known."

Brazier also was the founding president of The Woodlawn Organization, a South Side community organization active in the civil rights movement in its early years. Its Woodlawn Preservation and Investment Co. acquired vacant city property on which it built low- and mixed-income housing.

"Michelle and I were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of our dear friend, a stalwart of the city of Chicago, and one of our nation’s leading moral lights …," President Barack Obama said in a statement. "There is no way that we can replace the gentle heart and boundless determination that Bishop Brazier brought to some of the most pressing challenges facing Chicago and our nation."

A World War II Army veteran who served in Burma and India, Brazier was working as a U.S. Post Office letter carrier when he enrolled in the Moody Bible Institute in 1955. He became pastor of Apostolic Church of God in 1960, a year before he graduated from the Bible Institute.

It was also in 1961, during his work with famed community organizer Saul Alinsky, that he help found the Woodlawn Organization. Five years later, he invited Martin Luther King Jr. to Chicago, where the pair protested segregated schools and housing.

Apostolic Church of God has long been an important campaign stop for politicians, although Brazier opposed preaching politics from the pulpit.

Along with his son, Brazier is survived by his wife and three daughters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

(Defender/Worsom Robinson, file)

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