Church to host birthday celebration for Tutu

Bishop Asbil along with others inside Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto
Bishop Andrew Asbil dedicates the new stained-glass window at Grace Church on-the-Hill last year featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Rev. Florence Li Tim-Oi.
 on September 1, 2021
Michael Hudson

The Desmond & Leah Tutu Legacy Foundation will celebrate Archbishop Desmond Tutu’s 90th birthday on Sunday, Sept. 26 at 2 p.m. at Grace Church on-the-Hill, Toronto. 

The church installed and dedicated a new stained-glass window last fall in Archbishop Tutu’s honour. Archbishop Tutu won the Nobel Peace Prize for his work as an anti-apartheid and human rights activist. He was the chair of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. 

Stained glass windows
Archbishop Desmond Tutu and the Rev. Florence Li Tim-Oi.

“The 2020 installation of the stained-glass window honouring Archbishop Tutu’s life and witness has sparked keen interest in the wider community,” says the Rev. Canon Peter Walker, incumbent of Grace Church. “Without it, we wouldn’t have been asked to host this milestone event celebrating a Nobel Prize-winning churchman and reformer.” 

The Sept. 26 event will feature speeches, entertainment by jazz singer Jackie Richardson and the Nathaniel Bett Chorale, and a book launch by the Rev. Michael Battle of the General Theological Seminary in New York. Archbishop Tutu plans to speak virtually to the audience. Prof. Battle will also preach at the Sunday morning service.

The event is free and open to the public. There is a fundraising goal, however, for an Archbishop Tutu bursary to be awarded to a Toronto School of Theology graduate for further study and work in peace and reconciliation ministry. The University of Toronto has agreed to co-sponsor the bursary. 

“Given the timeliness of this topic in a Canadian context as well as Archbishop Tutu’s 90th birthday milestone, I think this event is exciting for our church to be hosting,” says Canon Walker. 

For more information, visit Grace Church on-the-Hill’s website at


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