Dr Michael Cassidy
The Lausanne Movement Board of Directors has unanimously approved the appointment of Dr Michael Cassidy (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa) as Honorary Chair of the Movement.
The movement’s Executive Chairman Doug Birdsall said Cassidy ‘is a global statesman and advocate for reconciliation and for Christian unity, while at the same time a persuasive evangelist who has been used on every continent for the cause of world evangelisation’.
Dr Cassidy, the founder of African Enterprise, said he was ‘overwhelmed, deeply humbled, and profoundly honoured’ by the appointment. He has been involved in evangelism, teaching, leadership and reconciliation ministry in South Africa, across the African continent and around the world.
As Honorary Chair, Cassidy succeeds Rev. Dr John R.W. Stott, who died in July 2011 at the age of 89. Birdsall notes that as a young man Cassidy was mentored by both Dr Stott and Billy Graham.
Cassidy was part of the initial planning meeting for the First International Congress on World Evangelisation in 1974, at Lausanne, Switzerland. He was instrumental in the Lausanne Movement holding the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation at Cape Town, in 2010.
As a South African, Michael Cassidy has been widely involved in both visible and behind the scenes reconciliation, and in political change in the country. He developed the National Initiative for Reconciliation (1985), which brought together leaders of different Christian denominations and races for the purpose of reconciliation among themselves and their communities.
He was one of the leaders of the historic National Conference of Church Leaders at Rustenburg (1990), and chaired the Consultation on Human Rights and Religious Freedom (1993). These and other activities have been broadly acknowledged as important contributions to 1994’s peaceful South African election. In 2008, he spearheaded the National Initiative for the Reformation of South Africa.
Dr Cassidy has written numerous books, including most recently The church Jesus prayed for, which will be published later this year. He says, ‘This volume is a child of the Lausanne Movement, having been inspired by a Bible study by John Stott in 1975, at the first Lausanne Continuation Committee meeting in Mexico City’.
In 1983 Michael Cassidy was admitted to the Order of Simon of Cyrene, the highest honour accorded a layman by the Anglican Church of Southern Africa. He and his wife, Carol, have three children and eight grandchildren (www.lausanne.org).