Ugandan bishop named to high Anglican post: Archbishop of York John Sentamu

July 26, 2005

The choice of Uganda-born John Sentamu as archbishop of York, the second most senior post in the (Anglican) Church of England, has been hailed in both countries, with a leading Ugandan newspaper describing the move as “a reverse evangelism.”

“The appointment,” commented the New Vision newspaper, “is a defining moment in a relationship where Africa was for long the recipient in a one-way liaison.” Uganda has the world’s third-largest community of Anglicans, after England and Nigeria, stemming from missionary work in the last half of the 19th century.

Sentamu, 56, will be the Church of England’s first black archbishop. He was a lawyer and a judge in Uganda, and came to England in 1974 as a political exile from the regime of dictator Idi Amin. After training for the priesthood in Britain, he held parish posts in parts of London with large ethnic minority populations, and most recently was the bishop of Birmingham.

A gay advocacy group called Sentamu “one of Britain’s most vocal opponents of gay priests and same-sex relationships.” Sentamu told a news conference after his appointment that he stands by an Anglican Communion resolution from 1998 that rejected homosexual practice as “incompatible with scripture” and ruled out gay marriage in church. –Ecumenical News International