by Jean Strachan
It was with surprise and delight that we welcomed two unexpected and distinguished visitors to our service at St Barnabas, Warrington, on Sunday 16 March. John Sentamu, the Archbishop of York, and his wife Margaret were invited to join us by 11-year-old Maxwell Burton, son of Jan Burton, the deputy master at St Margaret’s College where John and Margaret were staying during their visit to Dunedin.
Maxwell, who attends St Barnabas regularly when at Karitane during weekends and holidays, not only approached John and Margaret suggesting that it would be great if they would come to his church, but baked savouries for morning tea afterwards! It was an honour to worship with and talk to this warm, friendly couple after the service. A very special Sunday, to be remembered for a long time.
Ugandan by birth, Archbishop Sentamu studied law at Makerere University and practised as an advocate in his country's High Court until 1974 when he incurred the wrath of Idi Amin, was badly beaten, and forced to flee the country with his new wife, Margaret. He studied theology at Cambridge University and was ordained priest in 1979. Consecrated Bishop of Stepney (1994) and then of Birmingham (2002), he was in 2005 enthroned as the 97th Archbishop of York and Primate of England, the second most senior position in the Anglican Church.
John Sentamu has been outspoken on a wide range of social and political issues, including family and child poverty in the United Kingdom, the use of cluster bombs, Guantanamo Naval Base detentions, the stop-and-search policy of UK police, Robert Mugabe, and opportunistic stock-market trading.The Sentamus were staying at St Margaret’s College, with the Archbishop spending time at the Centre for Theology and Public Issues at the University of Otago.