Changing of the guard for england's first black archbishop

Changing of the guard for england's first black archbishop

The Archbishop of York is number two in the Anglican state church. John Sentamu was the first black person to hold this position, and also made a media appearance. There will soon be a new "Voice for the North".

Change of baton in York: Stephen Cottrell (61), until now Bishop of Chelmsford, becomes the new number two bishop of the Anglican State Church of England. He will take over from John Sentamu when the latter dies on 7 December. June, just days before his 71st birthday. Birthday (10. June), retires.

Cottrell, father of three children, then becomes the 98th. Bishop of York and, according to media reports, is already looking forward to "being a voice for the north". He also wants to help the Church spread the Gospel with "more joy and more efficiency".

First black Anglican archbishop of England

In the process, that's exactly what John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu, England's first black Anglican archbishop, did. As part of the evangelical wing of the church, he advocated both the embattled women's priesthood and the use of modern media such as the Alexa voice-controlled speaker for missionary work. His skills as one of the best experts on Anglican canon law were valuable in times of looming schism.

Born in 1949 in Kampala, Uganda, the sixth of 13 children, Sentamu does not shy away from striking appearances. In 2008, the archbishop jumped out of 3 on the anniversary of the Allied landings in Normandy.Parachuted 600 meters 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. In 2007, he cut his priestly collar on television to protest the regime of Zimbabwe's long-term president, Robert Mugabe.

A former judge in Uganda, Sentamu had fled Idi Amin's torture in the 1970s for refusing to acquit one of the dictator's cousins. With colorful vestments in church services, he also embodies the joie de vivre of his African homeland.

Directly addressing the faithful

Sentamu has been archbishop of York since 2005. In summer 2012, he was even considered a favorite to become primate and archbishop of Canterbury. The winning bid at the time, however, went to former oil executive Justin Welby, 63. Despite his enjoyment of the grand entrance, Sentamu always remained loyal in the Primate's shadow.

At the beginning of 2015, Sentamu consecrated Libby Lane (53) as the first female bishop in the history of the English church in a ceremony at York Cathedral that was as serious as it was colorful. From his African homeland, the charismatic "number two" brought direct address to the faithful; and so Sentamu asked the crowd, "Do you want her to be consecrated?" And an emphatic "Yeah" rang out!" from all throats, as one usually knows from British House of Commons debates.

In December 2017, Sarah Mullally (57) 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. So now – also at the request of Sentamus himself – the generational change in the Anglican leadership will continue in June.

Great challenges

Not too much is known yet about the new number two beyond its previous diocesan boundaries. On 31. Born Aug. 1958 in Leigh-on-Sea, Cottrell was bishop of Reading from 2004 to 2010; since then he has led the diocese of Chelmsford in the eastern English county of Essex. Primate Welby praised him Tuesday as a clergyman "who writes beautifully, thinks deeply and communicates superbly".

Now Cottrell has at least a few months to prepare for the two big challenges ahead: his high office in York – and the upcoming Lambeth Conference, the Anglican World Assembly of all bishops at the end of July 2020. This meeting, which takes place only every ten years, is the highest decision-making body of the Anglican world communion. In the past decades, controversial topics within the church have been discussed here again and again, such as the ordination of women or the handling of homosexuality. It is possible that already at the Lambeth Conference "York" is expected to set a course and accents in a turbulent political situation.

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