Black archbishop prays for racist abusers
Dr John Sentamu, Britain's first black archbishop, has declared that he is actively praying for the racist hate-mongers who continue to torment him and his family with anonymous abuse.
The new Archbishop of York within the Church of England made the comments in a BBC radio interview yesterday. As Ekklesia reported on 12 October, he has continued to receive hate mail since his appointment was announced in June 2005.
Talking on Radio's Today programme, Dr Sentamu said: 'It's been terrible, some of it has been awful ... I actually pray for the people who have written them. This country, of all the places I have been to, is the most tolerant and welcoming of all ... therefore this tiny minority is not going to stop me.'
In the past the now-archbishop has said that when he has been stopped by the police he was sometimes treated less than courteously until his ordained status had been revealed.
Dr Sentamu played a major role in encouraging the churches to speak out against institutional racism in 1999, in the light of the enquiry into the murder of Stephen Lawrence, a black youngster. He also chaired the Damilola Taylor review.
The archbishop also backs the extension of 'restorative justice' programmes.
Despite his experience of hate mail, Archbishop John Sentamu declared earlier this month: "The United Kingdom compared to the rest of Europe is trying desperately hard to be a loving, inclusive societyÖ I feel at home here.'
Born and educated in Uganda, where he practised as a barrister and a judge, Dr Sentamu was an outspoken critic of Idi Amin's regime, before coming to the UK in 1974.
[Dr Sentamu has written a foreword to a new book, 'Rejection, Resistance and Resurrection: Speaking Out Against Racism in the Church' by Mukti Barton, his former adviser on black and Asian issues.]