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Celebrations And Song As Desmond Tutu Recieves The 2013 Templeton Prize

posted 21 May 2013, 16:14 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 21 May 2013, 16:27 ]

The former Anglican archbishop of Cape TownDesmond Tutu, is formally presented with the 2013 Templeton Prize award in recognition of lifelong work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness, at a moving and musical ceremony in London's historic Guildhall attended by politicians, ambassadors, and personalities.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM (MAY 21, 2013) (CTN COMMUNICATIONS) -  One of London's oldest historic buildings -- the Guildhall -- rang out to the music of the London African Gospel Choir, rehearsing for a special celebration and also to start the formal ceremony for Desmond Tutu to receive this year's Templeton Prize.

Archbishop Tutu, only recently recovered from an operation, was determined to attend.

The 81-year-old was awarded the 1.1 million pound prize for his lifelong work in advancing spiritual principles such as love and forgiveness to help liberate people around the world.

This was an afternoon of music and speeches. Of multi-faith and for people of all race.

The Prize was established in 1972 by the late Sir John Templeton. His grand-daughter and trustee of the Foundation, Heather Templeton Dill, began by explaining some of the principles behind the Prize.

"The John Templeton Foundation's interest in big questions and the emphasis on seeking new information are rooted in curiosity. When our intellectual and moral curiosity are accentuated, we ask questions, we seek answers, and then we ask more questions, because our answers are never final. There is always so much more to know," she said.

She also introduced her Father, who sent a videotape message for today's event.

"Although my father cannot be with us today, he wanted to contribute to the celebration in order to honour Archbishop Tutu -- a humble and inspiring entrepreneur of the spirit, whose life and work captured the ideals Sir John hoped to promote for the giving of this prize," she added.

"By embracing such universal concepts of the image of God within each person,Desmond Tutu demonstrates how the innate humanity within each of us is intrinsically tied to a limitless humanity between all peoples," Dr. Templeton said on a recorded message to the audience.

"Father Desmond calls upon all of us to recognise that each and every human being is unique in all of history, and in doing so embrace our own vast potential to be agents for spiritual progress and positive change," he added.

"Not only does Father Desmond teach this idea, he lives it, and has provided to all of us the foundation for living his message of love and forgiveness," Templeton said.

The Grammy award winner Eric Whitacre and his Singers added to the international flavour with "Lux Aurumque"- much to the delight of Desmond Tutu.

This almost felt like a family affair.

Desmond Tutu had his daughter and grandchildren in attendance- along with lifelong friends from all walks of life -- from politicians to pop stars.

Judy Marchand, Vice President of Special Projects at the Templeton Foundation, read out a personal message from Prime Minister David Cameron.

"This comes from the prime minister's office on 10 Downing Street: The award you will be receiving in London recognises the fact that, although much of your life has been engaged in a struggle against the injustices and cruelties of apartheid, your weapons were always those of peace, not anger, and reconciliation over confrontation," she said.

Lord Brian Griffiths, a lifelong friend who has published various books on monetary policy and Christian ethics, explained the Templeton scroll- designed especially for the Archbishop.

And Heather was left to officially present the Templeton medal, along with a cheque for more than a million pounds -- for many years the world's biggest annual monetary award for individuals.

Desmond Tutu, who has always insisted that the honour was not his alone, was delighted and good-humoured as always in receiving the prize.

"This makes me a millionaire?" he said to laughs from the audience.

He later took the opportunity to further explain his philosophy of faith and belief.

"Ubuntu. A person can be a person only through other persons. You can be generous only because you learned from another how to be generous, and how God longs for us to know that, you know what? We are created for togetherness," he said.

"We are created to be members of one family. God's family. The human family. That the self-sufficient, the thoroughly self-sufficient is actually sub-human. And so thank you, thank you, thank you," he added.

Acclaimed UK singer and songwriter Annie Lennox sang an emotional "Many Rivers to Cross"; and daughter the Reverend Mpho Tutu spoke of her father's lifelong commitment to faith, forgiveness and reconciliation.

"The Templeton Prize acknowledges maybe the real Desmond Tutu. The servant leader. The priest. The pastor. The fallible person who is willing to admit his failures. So we thank you -- we thank you Dr. Templeton and the Templeton Foundation for your belief in his mission, and God bless you, each and all," she said.

Annie Lennox, the African Gospel Choir and the Eric Whitacre Singers combined to end an emotional and uplifting afternoon, with their interpretation of "Lean on Me".

The archbishop joined by his grandchildren on centre stage.

Desmond Tutu has for many years spoken of the importance of family.

This afternoon his family and his friends joined in and paid homage to him.

Desmond Tutu -- a true entrepreneur guided by essential human values of love, hope, tolerance and courage.