The other evening, Nobel Laureate Desmond Tutu spoke to a rapt group at the Cathedral of Saint Andrew in downtown Honolulu.
He was charming, impromptu, self-deprecating, funny and wise.
I was asked to be on hand to ask questions of the Peace Prize winner.
This man who is credited with making a critical difference in ending apartheid in South Africa spoke compellingly of the power of a single person to influence lives--and he wasn't talking about himself.
He was referring to a white clergyman named Trevor Huddleston who came to visit Tutu weekly when he was a poor, black teenager spending 20 months in a sanatorium with life-threatening tuberculosis. Tutu said the visits made him feel valued and that Trevor Huddleston's investment of time and interest had a resounding effect throughout his life. And, Tutu noted, the clergyman did that with many other kids too.
The retired Archbishop of Cape Town came to the islands to help the Episcopal Church celebrate its 150th anniversary in Hawaii. He's a friend of St. Andrew's Dean, Walter Brownridge, who onced served in Cape Town.
Hawaii Episcopal Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick posed a good question to the Nobel laureate. What should the church focus on in the next 150 years? Tutu said it should continue to remember and serve people in need, the hungry and the homeless.