The Centre for Theology and Public Issues hosted the Anglican Archbishop of York for a chat, along with Archbishop Philip Richardson, the Archbishop of Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia. 

The conversation started early, 4.30 pm.  I left work and arrived in time for the introduction.  Sentamu proved to be an educated and sharp speaker.  He worked in the Ugandan law-system and eventually had to flee the country to escape the Amin administration.  He entered the priesthood in the Church of England and rose to his current position.  If we could not understand his accent then he advised us pray to the Holy Spirit for the gift of interpretation.

On the subject of a living wage: The rises in the minimum wage has not kept up with rises in the top wages in Britain.  While I did not note the figure it was something like a three to four times increase in difference if it had kept up with what it is now.  Every increase in the minimum wage has been grudging.  A living wage is a stipend.  The Churches know about stipends.  They are what ministers of religion are paid to support them in their work for mission.  A living wage is a reminder that in the world to come we will be living in mansions.

On sexuality: St Paul would tell us off for dividing into parties over sexuality.  No party within the body of Christ can save us.  Our identity is baptised in Jesus Christ.  No division between gay or straight, inclusive or exclusive can save us.  The archbishop is no advocate for gay marriage; he reads the Bible as saying marriage is between a man and a woman.  He doesn’t divide himself from people who are in same-sex relationships.  He remains an advocate for unity in the church.  The gay person is not the son of perdition.

On the church: the church in the western world is dying.  It is tired but it is living.  It still can be the body of Christ.  Does it live for the unity of Christ, for the faithfulness of the gospel, for our common witness?  The church of the South may have the numbers.  It has to prove its own community.

The thief on the cross beside Jesus was the first person to enter the kingdom of god.  The first to enter paradise was essentially a terrorist (my description of his quote).

John Sentamu seems to be most famous for during a TV interview he removed his clerical collar, produced a pair of scissors and cut it up to demonstrate visually the impact of tyrants on African people.  The danger of the tyrant is that he has destroyed the identity of the people.

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