Admiral of Morality: Archbishop of York: "The Qualifications of an Archbishop"

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Archbishop of York: "The Qualifications of an Archbishop"

The Archbishop of York, The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Tucker Mugabi Sentamu, is the Primate of England and Metropolitan, a member of the House of Lords and a Privy Councillor.

Next to the Archbishop of Canterbury (the Primate of All England), his office is the most storied and powerful in the Church of England. There was an Archbishop of York at the Council of Nicea in 325, and the seat has been in continuous succession since 735 A.D.

Sentamu made history at his installation in 2005 because he is the first black archbishop in the Church of England. (The interesting and varied achievements in his biography are at the York webpage.) Since his installation in 2005 he has been particularly present in the affairs of the Anglican Communion. He attended the primates meeting in Tanzania in the winter of 2007, the first for a Primate of England.

And of course, in the summer of 2006 he attended the General Convention of the Episcopal Church, addressing the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies. He famously (some say infamously) took the step of addressing the Special Committee on the Episcopal Church and the Anglican Communion charged with crafting The Episcopal Church's responses to the Windsor Report, urging the committee to consider whether the proposed resolutions were “sufficient to cure this impaired friendship” and exhorting that, if not, “I suggest you must strengthen them.”

++York recently attended the General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada. He addressed the synod as they debated and discerned how best to proceed on the issue of same sex blessings, and preached at the installation of their new primate.

Despite the roundabout path, his sermon is in fact the topic of this comment.

The sermon was very fine. He urged all to "Train for Christ. Throw yourself into the race for Christ. Aim for Christ. Let your faith be ready for adventure -- ready to go into the unknown and forsaking the right to ask where you are going. May our Lord give you a reckless willingness to adventure. A venturesome faith -- like that of Abraham."

He also shared the necessary characteristics for an archbishop:

A few days before I was installed, a dear friend of mine sent me a card whose title was "The Qualifications of an Archbishop." He also wrote to say that he was praying that I will be given such qualities for I needed them all. And they are:

The wisdom of an owl
The strength of an ox
The tenacity of a bulldog
The daring of a lion
The industry of a beaver
The gentleness of a sheep
The versatility of a chameleon
The vision of an eagle
The hide of a rhinoceros (although, as a lawyer, think that this is a quality characteristic of lawyers -- thick-skinned, short-sighted and ready to charge!)
The endurance of a camel
The bounce of a kangaroo
The loyalty of a martyr
The faithfulness of a prophet
The tenderness of a shepherd
The devotion of a mother

And it ended by saying "And even then you wouldn't please everybody."
Enjoy the full sermon, kept at the Anglican Church of Canada homepage.


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