Sentamu resigns as Christian Aid Chair

Lord Sentamu.

Lord Sentamu has resigned as Chair and Trustee of Christian Aid after being recently criticised over his handling of historic abuse claims while he was Archbishop of York. 

A recent review into abuse by the late Rev Trevor Devamanikkam concluded that Lord Sentamu and other senior Church of England clergy failed to act on disclosures by the former priest's victim.

Lord Sentamu rejected the review's conclusions and said that they "demonstrated a lack of necessary understanding regarding the operation of dispersed authority in the Church of England". 

The review and his response led to the Bishop of Newcastle, Helen-Ann Hartley, ordering him to step back from his role as Honorary Assistant Bishop in the Diocese of Newcastle.

In his resignation letter to Christian Aid trustees, Lord Sentamu said he was concerned that recent events could "become a distraction from the vital work of Christian Aid". 

Lord Sentamu has been Chair of Christian Aid since November 2021, a position he took up after retiring as Archbishop of York.

Vice-chair Maggie Swinson has been appointed interim Chair until a new appointment can be made.

Patrick Watt, Chief Executive of Christian Aid, said: "We are very grateful for the 18 months of faithful and energetic leadership that Sentamu has given to Christian Aid. Given recent events, we understand the reasons for his resignation.

"During his tenure Sentamu gave generously of his time, as he steered the organisation through a change of Chief Executive, and a review of its strategy. He has played a critical role in our campaigning on climate justice, and on a just peace for Ukraine, and has brought Christian Aid's work to the attention of new audiences.

"Sentamu recently visited Sierra Leone where he saw first-hand the work of Christian Aid's partners and met with government and religious leaders to discuss our programmes to strengthen women's political participation, support livelihoods, and promote community peacebuilding. His visit reinforced our relationships in the country, and inspired staff and partners."