The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu praised Liverpool Hope University for “providing excellence” during a special visit.
Dr Sentamu met students and staff for a Q&A at the Hope Park Campus on Friday (March 8), and discussed a range of topics from unity between the world's Christian Churches to the challenge of making the Church relevant in increasingly secular times.
After meeting with University Vice Chancellor Professor Gerald Pillay, the Archbishop spoke in the Senate Room where he called Hope “a top University” and answered questions on faith, society and education.
Asked about the importance of togetherness between the Anglican and Roman Catholic Church he said: “We are talking too much about unity. We should practice it.
“Ecumenism should stop being a discussion about whether to unite but instead something that challenges us Christians to accept we are a power together in Christ.”
On the relevance of faith and the Church in a more secular era, he said the Church will always be “counter-cultural”.
“Making the Church relevant misses the point of the Gospel,” he said. “It is always counter-cultural and swimming against the tide.
“The Church that gets married to the spirit of an age will find itself widowed in the next.
“The way we can do it is by showing the amazing love and grace of God by telling, serving and giving.”
Responding to a question about the tradition of respecting the seventh day of the week, the Lord’s day in Christianity, or the Sabbath in Judaism, he said it was vital in order to “reconnect with God, family and community”.
“When that does not happen,” he said. “We live 24/7 and don’t have that chance to reconnect. When that tradition is broken it leads to individualism: caring only about yourself.“
The Church of England's second most senior clergyman and the UK's first black archbishop, Dr Sentamu – who will retire in 2020 – was in Merseyside for a weekend of activities with the Northern bishops called ‘Tell, Serve, Give’.
He was also set to visit a walking football match at Anfield Sports and Community Centre, take part in a mass clean-up of Formby beach with the National Trust and visit Alsop School in Walton and King George V Sixth Form College in Southport.