Wednesday, 24 April 2013


John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu   born 10 June 1949 is the 97th Archbishop of York, Metropolitan of the province of York and Primate of England. The position of Archbishop of York is the second most senior clerical position in the Church of England after that of Archbishop of Canterbury.
Born near Kampala in present-day Uganda, Sentamu studied law at Makerere University before gaining employment as an advocate of the Supreme Court of Uganda. Speaking out against the regime of President Idi Amin, he was briefly imprisoned before fleeing to the United Kingdom in 1974. Here, he devoted himself to Anglicanism, beginning his study of theology at Selwyn College, Cambridge in 1976 and eventually gaining a doctorate in 1984. He studied for ordination at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, and was ordained in 1979. In 1996 he was consecrated as the Bishop of Stepney and in 2002 moved to the position of Bishop of Birmingham. In 2005 he was appointed to the position of Archbishop of York.
Sentamu is a traditionalist within the Church of England, generally supporting socially conservative moral positions, publicly criticising multiculturalism and homosexual behaviour. He has also received attention for his vocal criticism of Zimbabwean president Robert Mugabe.

Sentamu was born in 1949 in a village near Kampala, Uganda, the sixth of 13 children. He studied law (LL.B.) at Makerere University, Kampala, and practised as an advocate of the High Court of Uganda until 1974. In 1973 he married Margaret. Three weeks after his marriage he incurred the wrath of the dictator Idi Amin and was detained for 90 days. In a speech in 2007, he described how during that time he had been "kicked around like a football and beaten terribly", saying "the temptation to give up hope of release was always present". He fled his home country to arrive as an immigrant in the United Kingdom in 1974.

Sentamu studied theology at Selwyn College, Cambridge (BA 1976, MA 1979, PhD 1984). He was baptized at Eden Baptist Church, Cambridge. He trained for the priesthood at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, being ordained a priest in 1979. His doctoral thesis is entitled "Some aspects of soteriology, with particular reference to the thought of J.K. Mozley, from an African perspective". He worked as assistant chaplain at Selwyn College, as chaplain at a remand centre and as curate and vicar in a series of parish appointments.
Sentamu was consecrated in 1996, as Bishop of Stepney, a suffragan see in the Diocese of London. It was during this time that he served as advisor to the Stephen Lawrence Judicial Enquiry. In 2002 he chaired the Damilola Taylor review. That same year he was appointed Bishop of Birmingham where his ministry, according to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, was praised by "Christians of all backgrounds". Sentamu became President of Youth for Christ in 2004 and President of the YMCA in April 2005.

On 17 June 2005 the prime minister's office announced Sentamu's translation to York as the 97th archbishop. He was formally elected by the chapter of York Minster on 21 July, legally confirmed as archbishop in London on 5 October, and enthroned at York Minster on 30 November 2005 (the feast of Saint Andrew), at a ceremony with African singing and dancing and contemporary music, with Sentamu himself playing African drums during the service. As Archbishop of York, Sentamu sits in the House of Lords and was admitted, as a matter of course, to the Privy Council of the United Kingdom.
John Sentamu outside York Minster on Easter Sunday, 2007.
For a week in August 2006, Sentamu camped in York Minster, foregoing food in solidarity with those affected by the Middle East conflict, especially the children and other civilians killed and injured during the 2006 Lebanon War, when cluster bombs were used by Israeli forces.
On 7 March 2007, Sentamu was installed as the first Chancellor of York St John University. On 1 June 2007 he was appointed as the first Chancellor of the University of Cumbria. He took up the position when the university opened on 1 August 2007. In July 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by University of Chester. On 15 July 2010, Sentamu was presented with an honorary degree from the University of York by the Provost of Vanbrugh College, the Reverend David Efird of the Department of Philosophy, and on 16 July 2010 was presented with an honorary degree from the University of Leeds by the chancellor of the university, Melvyn Bragg.
On 16 July 2007, Sentamu was presented with an honorary degree from the University of Hull by the chancellor of the university, Virginia Bottomley, at Hull City Hall during the graduation ceremony for graduands of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. On 19 July 2007 he was presented with an honorary degree (Doctor of Letters) from the University of Sheffield in recognition of his distinguished career as a scholar and theologian.
In October 2007 Sentamu was awarded the "Yorkshireman of the Year" title by the Black Sheep Brewery. In his acceptance speech he praised the welcome he had received from the people of Yorkshire and made reference to the "African-Yorkshire DNA connection", joking that perhaps his parents had this in mind when they gave him the name "Mugabi", which, spelled backwards, is "Ibagum" ("ee-by-gum", a stock phrase popularly supposed to be used to express shock or disbelief in northern England).