New archbishop beats the drum for the Church

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The Independent Online

A pounding drumbeat accompanied the vivid inauguration of the 97th Archbishop of York yesterday. Dancers in brightly coloured Ugandan costumes, in honour of the birthplace of the former judge, Dr John Sentamu, mesmerised a congregation of more than 3,000.

Dr Sentamu, Britain's first black archbishop, brushed aside protocol and tradition as rhythmic beats echoed off the ancient walls of York Minster during the ceremony, attended by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, who anointed and then embraced Dr Sentamu.

The new archbishop travelled from his official residence of Bishopthorpe Palace along the river Ouse by boat accompanied by a five-strong team of drummers.

Once inside the Minster, 20 dancers performed a Bwola dance of "rejoicing and thanksgiving". They wore colourful head plumage of red, white and black feathers and leopardskin print skirts and T-shirts.

At one point in the proceedings the 56-year-old Dr Sentamu, wearing a brightly coloured, specially designed cope and mitre, joined in the drumming.

In his sermon, the new Archbishop of York called on the Church of England to revive its spirit of "wonder" and "adoration" and rediscover the transforming power of the Gospel. "The scandal of the church is that the Christ-event is no longer life-changing, it has become life-enhancing," he told the congregation at the Minster. "We've lost the power and joy that makes real disciples, and we've become consumers of religion and not disciples of Jesus.

"We are getting richer and richer as a nation, but less and less happy. The Church in England must rediscover the self-confidence and self-esteem that united and energised the English people those many centuries ago."