Archbishop Desmond Tutu Shares €God€s Dream€

Carla Peay | 12/29/2008, 11:43 a.m.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu was surrounded by an audience that sat quietly around him, enraptured by the sound of his voice, intently listening to the words he read to them from his children€s book, €God€s Dream.€ Tutu made an impromptu visit to the Bishop John T. Walker School for Boys in Southeast on Thurs. Dec. 11, and considers himself €an ambassador€ for the school, which opened in September. Tutu serves as the honorary chair of the school€s advisory committee.

Rev. John Thomas Walker was a pastor, teacher, cathedral builder, civil rights leader, social justice pioneer and urban missionary. The first African American Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington from 1977 until his passing in 1989, Walker displayed a strong commitment to opening the door to education for Blacks, both in the U.S. and in South Africa. Tutu and the Walker were described as €friends and partners€ in the struggle against apartheid, participating in demonstrations together.

€[Tutu] has been a friend and a supporter of our school. He comes to Washington, D.C. often, and plans to stop by whenever he€s in town,€ said James Woody, director of External Operations for the Bishop Walker School. €He attended a luncheon and made a commitment to support us before we opened. He just fell in love with the boys.€

Woody said the young students sat at attention during Tutu€s reading, and touched the cross he wore around his neck.

€He€s a very down to earth man,€ Woody said, describing a ritual where the boys introduced themselves with positive statements, and the Archbishop joked with them.

A private school administered by the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, the Bishop Walker School does not receive public funding, and will rely on charitable gifts, grants and in-kind donations to cover their expenses.

A school for pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, the Bishop Walker School plans to offer an €alternative model for students, aimed at addressing a number of critical risk factors,€ especially for boys from low-income urban families who are in danger of €facing an educational and social crisis€ in our society.

€He [Tutu] talked with them about what they want to do when they grow up,€ Woody said. €Now with [President-elect] Barack Obama, they know they can grow up to be president.€