Theological royalty visits Rotorua

Archbishop of York in Rotorua on Sunday. Photo: supplied.

Rotorua has been blessed with a visit from royalty. But of the theological not royal kind.

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, paid a fleeting visit to St Faith’s Anglican Church at Ohinemutu with a theme “don’t fight violence with violence”.

He was invited by the Right Reverend Ngarahu Katene, Bishop of Te Manawa o Te Wheke*.

On Sunday, John Sentamu said mass and a sermon to the faithful, impressing with his delivery.

Born near Kampala, Uganda, the Archbishop is also Primate of England.

“He impressed us with his delivery,” parishioner and organiser Ann Somerville told Rotorua Now.

“He is definitely a man of the people – an eye for an eye and tooth for a tooth only ends in a lot of toothless and bind people.”

Personal touches also captured the faithful, as the archbishop was presented with several gifts, among them a framed taiaha.

“He went down the aisle to the back of the church were shook hands with everyone.”

Never shy of a speaking from the shoulder, John’s views have attracted much comment over the years.

He arrived in Britain in 1974 before speaking out against Idi Amin’s dictatorship in Uganda. A qualified lawyer, he was at one time High Court Judge

The Archbishop became the 97th archbishop of York in June 2005, an announcement formally imparted by the prime minister’s office.

As such, and as the first black archbishop in the Church of England, he sits in the House of Lords.

He has publicly commented on his regrets that low paid workers in the UK are now paid to exist above the poverty line. He has also contributed newspaper articles, from which payment has been directed to St Leonard’s Hospice in York.

From baptisms of fire in criticising Idi Ami and later Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe, John once baptised 20 people with full immersion in a tank of water.

John was touring as part of his world farewell visit from his ministry which began in 2005.

He is to be succeeded by Stephen Cottrell in one of the United Kingdom’s historic positions, second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury.

*Rev Katene’s diocese starts from the Bombay Hills to Taumarunui in the south, which includes Rotorua.

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