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Boundaries [more on Sentamu, new Archbishop of York]
Midwest Conservative Journal ^ | 6/18/2005 | Christopher Johnson

Posted on 06/19/2005 8:07:04 AM PDT by sionnsar

A historic selection was made in the Church of England several days ago.  A new Archbishop of York, one of the oldest ecclesiatical offices in Britain and second in importance only to Canterbury, has just been named.  And for the first time, the Primate of England will be a man born in Uganda:

The Rt Rev John Sentamu, the Bishop of Birmingham, has become the Church of England’s first black archbishop.

The Ugandan-born cleric, left, takes over as Archbishop of York from Dr David Hope, who quit in February to become a parish priest in Ilkley, West Yorkshire.

Bishop Sentamu, 56, said his appointment to the second-highest post in the Church of England was "an exciting prospect". He added that the Church needed to regain its vision and confidence and be ready to take risks.

Bishop Sentamu said he looked forward to working with the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, to spread the Christian message.

"It is imperative that the Church regains her vision and confidence in mission, developing ways that will enable the Church of England to reconnect imaginatively with England," he said.

What kind of a man is Sentamu?  C of E to the core, pretty much:

He called for reconciliation in the rows over gay priests and women bishops which have brought the Church close to schism, urging African primates not to break with the Anglican communion in protest at the ordination of a homosexual bishop in the US.

With most of the usual C of E political and religious views:

He has been equally vocal in support of campaigns to rid areas of his Birmingham diocese of gun and other violent crime, particularly after the deaths of Charlene Ellis and Letisha Shakespeare in 2003. During the police investigation to find their killers he gave out his home telephone number for witnesses to get in touch. He led church-wide protests against the Iraq conflict in 2003, denouncing the British and US-led invasion as having "no moral basis".

Dr Sentamu is in favour of ordaining women. Looking ahead to next month’s General Synod, at which fierce debate is expected over the issue of female bishops, he said: "I hope that, should we move towards ordaining women to the episcopate, those who oppose ... will still be made to feel that they belong to this particular church, and I am sure that arrangements can be made to make that possible."

Except one:

But he stood by the Lambeth Resolution of 1998, which rejects homosexual practice as "incompatible with scripture" and rules out gay marriage in church.

Which, of course, made Big Narcissism all cross:

The appointment of John Sentamu as the new Archbishop of York has been greeted with mixed reaction from members of a Church of England fiercely divided over the issues of gay clergy and women priests.

The Ugandan-born Bishop of Birmingham – Britain’s first black Archbishop – has pledged to help unite and revitalise the Church as it goes through a “trough” in its fortunes.

But gay rights activists believe an opportunity to openly challenge homophobia in the Church has been missed.

Richard Kirker, general secretary of the Lesbian & Gay Christian Movement, said the group was disappointed by the appointment.

“I cannot pretend that we are anything other than disappointed that a person that has not shown himself to be a particular friend of the lesbian and gay community has been appointed,” he said.

“We would have preferred someone willing to openly challenge homophobia and advocate justice for all whatever their sexual orientation.” 

It's all about you, isn't it, Kirks?  One gets the impression that if Madonna had been appointed to York, you would have delighted with the choice since she would obviously be correct on "homophobia."  Other Anglicans were more positive.  In the Times, Ruth Gledhill was ecstatic:

So the Holy Spirit is at work in the Church of England after all. No other conclusion can be drawn from the inspired appointment of Dr John Sentamu to be Archbishop of York.

The last few years have been witness to an inexorable decline in both the strength and reputation of the Anglican church in the West, a decline hastened by shameful squabbles over sexuality. It has seemed that nothing could lift the church out of the quagmire of internal dispute.

But through this one appointment, the Church already has a whole new feel. A new direction seems possible, and a recovered sense of mission.

As Sentamu himself noted earlier today, it was because of the courage of missionaries who risked their lives to take the Gospel to his native country of Uganda that he was in a position to become Archbishop of York. And it does seem in today’s church to be in the people and churches of Africa and other developing countries that the Gospel has its most vibrant expressions.

Although the temptation must have been strong for someone who has an international vision of justice, he did not at his press conference earlier today even condemn the Church’s disputes over homosexuality. Instead he likened them to family squabbles of the kind that he engaged in as one of 13 children. Just because family members fight, they do not have to fall apart. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, has already appointed him to the international panel of reference set up to mediate in the disputes over gays.

I'm not ready to go as far as Ms. Gledhill for two reasons.  One, because it will take a great deal more than an African-born Archbishop to fix what is wrong with the Church of England.  And two, while Dr. Sentamu's views on the Current Unpleasantness are encouraging, the fact that he can blithely reduce it to a mere "family squabble" indicates that he does not truly understand it or take it as seriously as it needs to be taken.  Right now, it appears that the See of York will soon be occupied by a slightly more moderate Rowan Williams.

TOPICS: Mainline Protestant

1 posted on 06/19/2005 8:07:04 AM PDT by sionnsar
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2 posted on 06/19/2005 8:07:33 AM PDT by sionnsar (†† || Iran Azadi || (Airbus A380)^: The BIG PIG)
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