As the number two bishop of the Anglican State Church of England, Archbishop John Sentamu of York has made many impulses. Now he passes the bishop's baton to a new "voice for the North".
Anglican bishops usually have to resign at age 70. With the Queen's permission, John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu, first black archbishop in the history of the Church of England, continued for nearly a year to. Now, three days before his 71st birthday. Birthday, ends on Sunday (7. June) his term of office. He will pass on the bishop's baton of York to his successor Stephen Cottrell, who will take office on July 9. July officially starts.
Sentamu has led England's second most important diocese since 2005. Born in Uganda in 1949, Sentamu did not shy away from striking appearances. In 2008, the archbishop skipped 3 on the anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy.600 meters above the ground by parachute to raise funds for soldiers wounded in Afghanistan. In 2006, he camped out in his cathedral for a week in solidarity with victims of the Middle East conflict.
And in late 2007, he cut his white priestly collar on television to protest the long-term regime of Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe. A former judge in Uganda, Sentamu had to flee Idi Amin's torture in the 1970s. He had refused to acquit a cousin of the dictator.
The church leader, born in Kampala, Uganda, in 1949, is known and loved for such actions and others, such as his exuberant dancing during England's victory in the 2018 World Cup quarterfinals. To see him as a showman would be quite wrong, of course. Sentamu's comments on social inequities are serious and apt. His skills as one of the best experts on Anglican canon law were invaluable in times of threatened schism.
Once a favorite for the post of primate
Sentamu, the sixth of 13 children and married since 1973, belongs to the evangelical wing of the church. He endorsed both the embattled women's priesthood and the use of modern media such as the Alexa voice-controlled speaker for missionary work. He often celebrates services in colorful robes reminiscent of his African homeland.
In the summer of 2012, it seemed clear to bookmakers early on that Sentamu would become the new Archbishop of Canterbury and thus Primate of the Anglican state church, according to the odds offered by betting agencies. Indeed, the then-number-two seemed a born successor: intelligent, charismatic, dynamic, telegenic, the first black man to be as politically correct as he was signal – and above all: ready for the job as chief representative and herding dog of the fractious Anglican world community.
But apparently the responsible "Nominating Commission of the Crown" could not agree on the then 63-year-old. Perhaps the Ugandan-born Sentamu "wanted the post too blatantly," observers argued at the time; others cited his rather undiplomatic course toward homosexuals. Although he also likes the big appearances, Sentamu as number two always remained loyally in the shadow of the primate; under Rowan Williams (2002-2012) as well as under the current incumbent Justin Welby.
Consecrated the first female bishop in English church history
In January 2015, the first black archbishop of the Church of England consecrated the first female bishop in English church history, Libby Lane, in a ceremony as serious as it was colorful at York Cathedral. Sentamu said at the time that it was "high time for women in the episcopate". Since early Christianity, women have been "the backbone of the church," "undiscovered, unsung and invaluable". In just a few years, people will wonder how they ever got along without women bishops.
In late 2017, Sarah Mullally became the first woman to advance to the highest ranks of the church hierarchy. The former nurse and bishop of Exeter became the capital bishop in London, making her number three in the Church of England.
At the Lambeth Conference, the world assembly of all bishops of the Anglican Communion, which has been postponed until 2021, Sentamu can lean back. At the last conference in 2010, the church was still threatening to split over internal church disputes such as the ordination of women bishops or the treatment of homosexuality. The pilot of yesteryear is now disembarking.