Leading article: Down to earth

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The Independent Online

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, has shown himself as adept as any churchman of today at spanning the material and spiritual worlds. Yesterday this thoroughly modern cleric made the literal leap from heaven to earth by completing a parachute jump with – appropriately – the Red Devils. Afterwards he waxed lyrical about an experience that had drawn on all his resources. He had, he said, "prayed like anybody's business up there".

There is something admirable about a 58-year-old archbishop who ventures to test himself in this way. Still more admirable is that his jump was not just for personal satisfaction, but to raise money for families of soldiers injured in Afghanistan. It is to be regretted that service families need to have recourse to charity. But an archbishop who sees sponsored skydiving as an expression of civic duty must be an asset to any age, however secular.