Archbishop Sentamu uses Caribbean visit to build bridges

By staff writers
October 17, 2007

Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu has been welcomed in the Caribbean as representing "a new sense of communion to Anglicanism" in its diversity. In Barbados he has spoken of economic sharing as a key characteristic of Christian life.

Dr Sentamu, the Church of England's most senior black leader, was welcomed to Barbados with the laying of a plaque and the planting of a royal palm at the St Thomas Parish Church.

On Sunday evening, the Archbishop of York joined with Bishop Dr John Holder, rector Canon George Knight, and a number of other members of the clergy to help commemorate the church's 170th anniversary.

Retired Bishop Wilfred Wood, formerly of Croydon in south London's Diocese of Southwark, speaking at the historic occasion before the service, said Dr Sentamu had travelled to this island as a distinguished servant of God and not in chains.

"Men and women of every nationality, of every ethnic group, should be brought into his kingdom of love, justice, peace and true brotherhood", declared Bishop Wood, referring to the terrible history of slavery.

"We thank God for this privilege of being allowed to touch this hem of the garment of history," he added.

Dr Sentamu said in his message that Christian mission was not about activism but about how to be attentive to God and also to listen to the needs of the world.

He reminded Christians that the way people used money and their possessions says who and what is really in charge of their lives, advocating reciprocal generosity and sharing as a key element of Christian witness.

"Worship has to do with what we give. Those following Jesus have deep pockets and short arms," Sentamu declared.

Bishop Holder welcomed the archbishop, noting he had created history in a unique way and his achievements in office were many, as he brought a new sense of communion to Anglicanism with the diversity that was present elsewhere in the world.

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