Pastor’s passion for doing good
IT BEGAN with 17 people sitting under a tree in Phoenix in 1975, and grew into a mammoth undertaking spanning hundreds of churches in several countries, including Russia.
Such was the vision of pastor Reverend Emmanuel J Moodley, who died on Saturday morning from a heart attack after a planned surgery.
Moodley, the founder of Bethsaida Ministries International, was 70.
The many whose lives he touched remember him for his intense passion for doing good.
From its humble beginnings, Bethsaida found a new home in a 10 000-seater auditorium in Phoenix in 2012. Moodley had cashed in a R1 million retirement annuity at the age of 65, using the funds, along with donations, to build it.
“With 140 churches and several orphanages in India, more than 1 000 churches in Russia, hundreds of church initiatives throughout Africa and too many preaching points to mention in KwaZulu-Natal, Reverend Moodley remained faithful to his calling, which earned him worldwide recognition,” Bethsaida Ministries said.
Some of the Indian orphanages were named after him. But Moodley also drew acclaim in 1993 for becoming the first South African to build 27 churches in Russia, said Phoenix preacher Jonathan Annipen.
“He has one church in Zimbabwe, one in Zambia and more recently in the Seychelles.”
The Phoenix church has more than 12 000 congregants.
Moodley, a minister of the gospel for over 44 years, was also a radio and television minister, said Annipen.
He said Moodley had had a passion for transforming the lives “of those washed ashore by the storms of life, and began setting fire to a community yearning for recognition and the meaning to life”.
In 2014, at the invitation of renowned Evangelist Benny Hinn, Moodley was present at the opening of Israel’s first prayer tower.
“The mainspring of his success had to be God and he will be remembered as a fierce advocate for all that was good and wholesome.”
His son, Pastor Emmanuel J Moodley II, said his dad was the second deputy moderator of the Full Gospel Church of God in South Africa, chair of the Missions Board and served on the Welfare and Historic Committees of the Full Gospel Church of God.
He also served as the regional overseer of the KZN North Coast region’s Full Gospel Church and was the chairman of the board at Mahatma Gandhi Memorial Hospital.
Among other academic accolades, Moodley recently received his doctorate from Teamwork Bible College.
“Despite these portfolios and many accomplishments, he remained a humble servant of the Lord with a passion to extend the kingdom of God at all costs,” he said.
Emmanuel said his father’s resilience, “intense passion for doing good, fastidious attitude in keeping the tenets of the ‘word’ and his fierce loyalty to his calling would be a legacy perpetuated by all those who form part of Bethsaida”.
Moodley is survived by his wife of 48 years, Priscilla, and sons Lloyd, Brenton and Emmanuel. He will be buried on Sunday. The funeral service will start at 1pm at Bethsaida Ministries at Stonebridge Drive, Phoenix, and will proceed to Redhill Cemetery. – Post Reporter
Reverend Emmanuel J Moodley