Refugee who fled Amin is confirmed as archbishop

John Sentamu's journey to the heart of the nation's religious life was completed at 5pm yesterday when a part-legal, part-liturgical church ceremony known as the Confirmation of the Election marked the start of his reign. The ceremony, led by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, and six senior bishops, took place at St Mary-Le-Bow in the City of London.

Dr Sentamu has been active in taking the Church's message into the community, counteracting secular trends that, according to one recent report, will leave Christianity a minority religion by 2040.

"It is imperative that the Church regains her vision and confidence in mission, developing ways to reconnect imaginatively," Dr Sentamu said on his appointment. "We need ... to revitalise ourselves. We need a fresh vision. This has been true of all churches throughout history, that a time comes when there is an ebb and flow and at one particular point you are in a trough."

The Church hopes that its first black archbishop in England will imbue it with evangelising zeal lacking in the conservative, white men who have gained preferment in the past. Dr Sentamu certainly has a more extraordinary range of experiences to draw on than any of the previous incumbents of a position whose history can be traced back to Paulinus AD625.

As a judge in his home country, he fell foul of the regime of Idi Amin after ignoring an order to deliver a not guilty verdict in a case involving one of Amin's cousins, and jailing him for five years. He was arrested and beaten by an Amin hit squad, and almost died. He later left for England where he studied theology and was ordained in the Anglican Church, serving in Cambridge and London.

On some issues, Dr Sentamu's views are considerably more conservative than those of his senior colleague at Canterbury. His theological hard line on the issue of homosexuality is seen as a counterweight to the more liberal stance of the Dr Williams. This may appease the African primates who take a similar line on the divisive issue.

Dr Sentamu will be enthroned at York Minister on 30 November, succeeding David Hope, now Lord Hope of Thornes, who resigned in February to take up a post as a parish priest.

Dr Sentamu's appointment comes in the wake of The Future of the Church report by the Christian Research organisation which highlights the importance of outreach Christianity groups that encourage fresh forms of expression. The report predicted that the proportion of the population describing itself as Christian will have fallen from the 72 per cent recorded in the 2001 census to about 35 per cent in 2040.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Implementation Executive

£18000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Chiropractic Assistant

£16500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Chiropractic Assistant is needed in a ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive - Midlands

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides coaching ...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own