Feeding the multitudes

Published December 1, 2005

John Sentamu, Britain’s first black archbishop, chose to offer refreshment to the whole congregation, instead of providing a hot meal for a few notables, following his enthronement scheduled at York Minster for Nov. 30. The Anglican archbishop’s spokesperson Martin Shepherd told Ecumenical News International that “snackpacks” had been ordered from clothes and food retailer Marks and Spencer, for up to 3,000 people after the service. Mr. Shepherd noted: “It is the tradition to provide a lunch or dinner for a few invited guests after an enthronement.  The archbishop wanted to continue this tradition of providing hospitality, but to extend it to everybody rather than the select few.” The appointment of the Uganda-born Archbishop Sentamu, 56, to the second most senior post in the Church of England, has provoked some racist abuse. He told an interviewer on BBC’s Today program that he had received hate mail, some smeared in excrement. While he found this distressing, he realized that it came from a tiny minority for whom he now prayed. He had also received countless letters of support.Archbishop Sentamu went to Britain to study theology in 1974 after it became impossible for him to function as a High Court judge in Uganda following a 1971 coup that brought Idi Amin to power as a military dictator.


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