Reporting Nancy Harty
CHICAGO (CBS) - Parishioners at the Apostolic Church of God said their final farewells to Bishop Arthur Brazier over the weekend.
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The bishop’s son, Pastor Byron Brazier, led the first service at church without his father on Sunday.
“Over this past week, we have cried together, we have remembered together, and most of all, we have prayed together,” Pastor Byron Brazier said in a sermon at the church, at 6320 S. Dorchester Ave. in the Woodlawn neighborhood.
Pastor Brazier spoke intimately about his father’s last moments.
“I could see Bishop’s parents greeting him in heaven, saying, ‘My son, my son, what great work you have done,’ Pastor Brazier said, “and I can see the Lord as he called him in, saying, ‘Well done.’”
Bishop Brazier, an Army veteran, studied at Moody Bible Institute and became pastor of the Universal Church of Christ in 1952. In 1960, Brazier merged his congregation with the Apostolic Church of God.
Bishop Brazier also was a founder of The Woodlawn Organization, which was prominent in Chicago’s civil rights movement in the 1960s. He spent time in the mid 1960s fighting school segregation and played a role in Dr. Martin Luther King’s visit to Chicago in 1966 to protest both education and housing discrimination in Chicago.
Byron Brazier said his father had a vision for the Woodlawn community decades ago, where he led his Pentecostal congregation at this church for 48 years. In 1976, while many were leaving the blighted area, Brazier said God told him to expand his church on a vacant lot on 63rd Street, under the L tracks.
The Bishop wanted to revitalize the neighborhood of his youth. Since that time, Brazier has been credited with the creation of Columbia Pointe, the townhome community that lines 63rd Street.
Meanwhile, his church claims an active membership of more than 20,000.
The bishop’s viewing will be Thursday from noon to 6:30 p.m., and Friday morning from 8 to 9:30 a.m., at the Apostolic Church of God. The wake will be at 10 a.m. Friday, followed by the funeral at 11 a.m.