It is a fair bet that, in all its 700 years, York Minster has never seen an installation of an archbishop quite like it. There was African dancing in the nave, and rhythmic chants made the medieval tracery tremble.It is an even safer bet that it has never seen an archbishop of the Church of England pounding the bongo drums at his own inauguration.On Wednesday, John Sentamu, Ugandan-born and once an asylum seeker, was coming into his own as archbishop of York, in the footsteps of 96 predecessors with names such as Eborius, St Paulinus and Ecgbeorht.
But, as the new archbishop reminded his congregation, it was a recent predecessor who had predicted the coming of the first black archbishop. That was Michael Ramsey in 1960, who possibly felt it would never happen so soon. "Well, here I am," said Dr Sentamu. The ceremony began with the Archbishop taking a boat from his future home at Bishopthorpe Palace up the River Ouse to York, accompanied by five drummers. The two-hour service was full of stately Anglican ritual, including anointing with the "oil of gladness" by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
The bear hug of welcome, and genuine warmth , between the two archbishops was greeted with applause and African ululations from the back.Later, Dr Sentamu broke away from greeting the congregation to plunge among the musicians and, handing his mitre to an astonished beadle, began beating the drums himself.
Dr Sentamu's sermon was a stern lecture to the Church of England to grow out of being a "judgemental and moralising" congregation, and go out to make friends in the world."We have lost the joy and power that makes real disciples, and we've become consumers of religion, not disciples of Jesus Christ," he said.
"Christians, go and find friends among Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, agnostics, atheists, not for the purpose of converting them to your beliefs but for friendship, understanding, listening, hearing."His remarks were greeted with applause, not silence as the order of service instructed.
Dr Sentamu washed the feet of three schoolchildren in ritual re-enactment of Christ's gesture at the Last Supper.Then he proceeded down the aisle and out the door, accompanied by the children with balloons, which floated into the grey sky, reports Guardian. I.L.
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