A former Ugandan judge and former Bishop of Stepney and also of Birmingham, Dr. John Sentamu will become Archbishop of York. He replaces Dr. David Hope, who stepped down to become rector of a “traditional” parish in Ilkley, York. Dr. Sentamu is seen as more progressive than his predecessor on many issues, but forms his own opinions on others. Dr. Hope opposed female clergy and other reforms, while Dr. Sentamu opposed the war in Iraq. However, what’s more important is in the causes he supports: displaced auto workers, reducing in gun crime, reducing in racial tensions, and revitalizing people’s involvement with the Anglican church. He hopes to get people as excited about their religion as they are about cricket and soccer.
As Archbishop of York, he holds the second most important post in the Anglican Church in Britain. It’s conceivable that he could be Archbishop of Canterbury one day. He has vowed to ban homophobia in the Church of England. He is looking forward to “developing ways that will enable the Church of England to reconnect imaginatively with England“.
After wrestling with an ugly word that is part of the story quoted below, I decided for the moment to leave it in. If we pretend that problems don’t exist, they will eventually overwhelm us. We must face them. We must look each other in the eye and join together to combat them, just as the new Archbishop of York has pledged to do. We should remember his struggle and his example when we are in the midst of our own travails, and take heart and hope.
John Sentamu, the new archbishop of York, is a mould-breaker in more ways than one.
Not only is he the Church of England’s first black primate; he is also seen as possessing street cred.
He is a trusted adviser to the government on race and the inner cities, yet does not shrink from criticising it.
And he speaks the sort of language most of us use, without taking refuge in ecclesiastical gobbledygook.
During his six years as bishop of Stepney in east London he was stopped and searched eight times by the police.
What upset him most was the sudden change in the officers’ behaviour when they realised his identity.
He said: “When they discovered who I was, the way I was then treated was very different. They should treat everybody with respect, with dignity.”
Another time, he recalls, four young white men spat at him and said: “Nigger, go back.”
He replied: “You have wasted your saliva.”
When he moved from Stepney to the West Midlands Dr Sentamu said he wanted to be known as the Bishop for Birmingham, not of it. – BBC NEWS | UK | England | The Archbishop with ‘street cred’