Watch: John Sentamu signs off as Archbishop of York in virtual service

John Sentamu conducts the virtual service in his last act as Archbishop of York. Photograph: Church of England / Screengrab
7 Jun 2020 @ 12.51 pm
| News

The Archbishop of York has taken part in virtual church services to mark his last day before he retires from the role after 15 years.

John Sentamu reflected on his life during a service broadcast across the BBC local radio network and an online session for the Church of England.

He will be succeeded by Stephen Cottrell, the Bishop of Chelmsford, who will be confirmed in a virtual service next month.

Dr Sentamu’s daughter, the Rev Grace Sentamu-Baverstock, led the service on the BBC, which also featured his wife, the Rev Margaret Sentamu.

Speaking in a recorded message from the Archbishop Desmond Tutu garden and orchard at Bishopthorpe Palace in York, he said: “I have lived through the Idi Amin brutality in Uganda, salmonella poisoning, a burst appendix, prostate cancer and three serious operations.”

Championing the North

The Archbishop in the gardens of Bishopthorpe Palace

“I was 10 years old when I responded to Jesus Christ’s invitation to become his friend and to discover his plan for my present and my future,” Dr Sentamu said during the service, produced by BBC Radio York.

“Sixty-one years on, I truly know I was lovingly invited into God’s glorious community of love, rooted in faithfulness and friendliness.

“And throughout my life, I have found God in these experiences.”

Opening the service, Ms Sentamu-Baverstock made reference to the coronavirus pandemic and the death of George Floyd.

“All of us have felt the impact of the Covid-19 health emergency.

“No doubt many of you have read, heard or seen the horrific and outrageous death of George Floyd in America and the subsequent civil unrest. We’ve witnessed thousands of people taking to the streets demanding change, demanding justice.

“So it is right that, this morning, we hold this situation in our prayers and our hearts.”

The service was led by the Rev Hannah Madin, of St Mary’s and Holy Apostles in Scarborough, and also featured broadcaster and newsreader Huw Edwards, reading the George Herbert poem Love Bade Me Welcome.

Earlier in the week, Dr Sentamu said: “It has been a great joy and privilege to serve as Archbishop of York these past 15 years.

“Not only did I get to live in God’s own county, but I have been able to be a voice for the North, championing the cause of those who live here.”