The Ugandan born and educated Dr John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu was enthroned yesterday as Britain’s first black archbishop at a service that pushed aside all traditional protocol.
Dr Sentamu was taken by boat from his official residence at Bishopthorpe Palace along the River Ouse to the rhythm of a five-strong team of drummers.
The African theme continued in the Minster, with 20 dancers performing a Bwola dance of “rejoicing and thanksgiving” before a mesmerised congregation of more than 3,000.
The dancers were dressed with colourful red, white and black feathered head plumages and leopard skin print skirts and T-shirts.
The 56-year-old Dr Sentamu even joined in the drumming at one point during the proceedings.
The lively ceremony was attended by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who anointed and then embraced Dr Sentamu.
In his sermon, Dr Sentamu made reference to Archbishop Michael Ramsey who spoke of his longing back in 1960 for the day in England when the Church would learn the faith afresh from Christians of Africa and Asia and when a black Archbishop of York would hold mission here.
Dr Sentamu said: “Well here I am, and you have already acknowledged that fact!”
The new Archbishop of York also called on Christians to reconsider “Who is Jesus and what does he mean for those who put their trust in him?” and to return to Jesus’ basic plan for the world, ‘corporate discipleship’ and ‘fraternal belonging’.|QUOTE|
He said: “The trouble with virtually all forms of revolution and modernising strategies is that they change everything – except the human heart.
“And until that is changed completely, nothing is significantly different in the long run.”
Dr Sentamu also criticised the church for losing its life-changing focus.
“The scandal of the church is that the Christ-event is no longer life-changing, it has become life-enhancing,” he said. “We’ve lost the power and joy that makes real disciples, and we’ve become consumers of religion and not disciples of Jesus Christ.”
He added: For me, the vital issue facing the Church in England and the nation, is the loss of this country’s long tradition of Christian wisdom which brought to birth the English nation: the loss of wonder and amazement that Jesus Christ has authority over every aspect of our lives and our nation.
|AD|“There is nothing more needed by humanity today than the recovery of a sense of ‘beyond-ness’ in the whole of life to revive the spring of wonder and adoration.”
Dr Sentamu said: “It would be fantastic if people not only said of Jesus Christ, ‘What sort of man is this?’ but said of his followers, ‘What sort of people are they?’”
The Archbishop of York said the Church of England must once again be a beacon by which the people of England can orient themselves by offering the Good News of God in Christ in a practical and relevant way to their daily lives.
He said Britain had lost its ‘missionary zeal’ and asked whether the country had also “lost a noble vision of for the future”.
“We are getting richer and richer as a nation, but less and less happy,” said Dr Sentamu, adding that the Church of England must rediscover her self-confidence and self-esteem.
He said: “Christians, our priority for making disciples is amongst the 72 per cent who in the last census said they were Christians. That’s where our task lies!”