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.]