Reporting Craig Dellimore
UPDATED 10/29/10 5:15 p.m.
CHICAGO (WBBM/CBS) – There will never be another Arthur Brazier.
Friday, admirers turned out by the thousands to mourn the late bishop, who died last week at the age of 89 after battling prostate cancer.
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Using video from one of his own sermons, the Apostolic Church of God held Brazier’s funeral. CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports it attracted national and local leaders, including first lady Michelle Obama.
Parishioners showed their love for Brazier by waiting patiently in a line that snaked around the church.
A standing ovation to the many tributes is how they screamed their appreciation. Brazier sat at the helm of Apostolic Church of God for 48 years before turning over the reigns over to his son in 2006.
“The toughest thing I ever had to do was to lay my father to rest, but I thank the Lord that his spirit still rests in this place,” Byron Brazier said.
His father was praised by powerful politicians for his work as a civil-rights activist, community organizer, and an early supporter of President Barack Obama. Both the first lady and senior White House advisor Valerie Jarrett came to pay their respects.
Jarrett reminisced about Brazier’s visit to the Oval Office.
“The pride and pure joy was written all over his face,” she said. “He paused in the doorway and he looked around and he savored the moment, and with a chuckle he said, ‘This is really something.’”
Mayor Daley also shared stories about his many meetings with the Bishop.
“He would advise you, and then you’d take his advice. If you didn’t follow it, he would call me,” Daley said, smiling. “He would call me right away (and say) ‘What happened?’”
Some 20,000 people call Apostolic their home church. They remembered the spiritual leader.
“He’s a man of integrity,” one woman told CBS 2′s Dorothy Tucker.
Community activist Al Williams says fought to protect the Woodlawn community from slumlords and dislocation.
Fellow activist Rev. Al Sampson says Bishop Brazier was the epitome of what church should be all about. Sampson says Bishop Brazier’s ability to work with a diverse array of people was unequalled.
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.