A good appointment

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The Independent Online

The new Archbishop of York enjoys the ambiguous distinction of being the first senior prelate of the Church of England to be flagged down by the police and asked the standard PC Plod stop-and-search questions. The black man in the car, when asked his name, removed his scarf to reveal his dog collar and replied: "John Sentamu, Bishop of Stepney and currently a member of the Macpherson inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence." Policemen on the beat should receive more such shocks.

The new Archbishop of York enjoys the ambiguous distinction of being the first senior prelate of the Church of England to be flagged down by the police and asked the standard PC Plod stop-and-search questions. The black man in the car, when asked his name, removed his scarf to reveal his dog collar and replied: "John Sentamu, Bishop of Stepney and currently a member of the Macpherson inquiry into the death of Stephen Lawrence." Policemen on the beat should receive more such shocks.

Dr Sentamu's promotion yesterday from Bishop for Birmingham to Archbishop of York, the second most important post in the Church of England, is most definitely to be welcomed. This is not just because of his ethnic background, though that has shaped the talents he has to offer. His early life was in Uganda where he was a district judge until he had a run-in with Idi Amin and the dictator had him imprisoned and tortured. On release he fled to the UK where he became a priest.

But if his theological views are orthodox he has been a powerful advocate for some of the most alienated members of British society. He served on the Damilola Taylor inquiry. He has been active in combating gun culture in Birmingham. His promotion can only be good for both the Church and for society in general.

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