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Archbishop Apologizes for Slave-trade History: CEN 10.12.07 p 6 October 12, 2007

Posted by geoconger in Archbishop of York, Church of England Newspaper, Church of the Province of the West Indies.


Dr. Sentamu and the Governor General of Jamaica, Kenneth Hall at King’s House in Kingston, Oct 8. (Diocese of Jamaica photo)

Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu has offered an apology to the people of Jamaica for the Church of England’s complicity in the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

“Whether I like it or not, I belong to the church which participated in the transatlantic slave trade,” Dr. Sentamu said during a ceremony Saturday at the University of the West Indies in Mona where he was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree.

“The actions of my forebears are my actions,” he said. “I can’t distance myself from the terrible things that the Anglican Church did to my brothers and sisters who were sold as slaves. And for that I deeply apologise.”

“In a free society, we need to remember that all are involved in the actions which some are doing; some are guilty, but all are responsible,” the Archbishop of York said on Oct 6.

Preaching at the National Arena on Sunday before a capacity crowd, Dr. Sentamu urged the congregation to pursue authenticity. “God rejoices in the fact that he created each one of you … That is the greatest message of the sermon this morning, be yourself and don’t try and be somebody else.”

Dr. Sentamu also urged the congregation to pursue humility. “When I became the bishop of Birmingham I reminded everybody else, when you see me as the bishop and looking so gorgeously dressed just remember the day Jesus entered Jerusalem, he rode on a donkey.”

The crowd in Jerusalem “dressed up that donkey to take Jesus to downtown Jerusalem”, he added. “So when you see me dressed up like a bishop in very funny clothes, I am simply a donkey taking my Jesus to downtown Birmingham.”

Bishops, he said, were “mere donkeys” whose ministry was to take “Jesus in places where there is no love where there is no hope where there is no justice.”

Dr. Sentamu is in Kingston as a guest of the Diocese of Jamaica and will spend a week on the island before traveling to Barbados. On Monday he met with Governor General Kenneth Hall and then with Jamaican Prime Minister Bruce Golding, discussing issues of regional and international concern.


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Read more about this historic trip here:


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