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Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu to be awarded an honorary degree

The Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu is to be awarded an honorary degree from Liverpool Hope University.

The Most Reverend and Right Honourable Dr John Sentamu was the UK's first black Archbishop when enthroned in 2005.

He is the Primate of England and Metropolitan, a member of the House of Lords and a Privy Councillor.

Dr Sentamu will be recognised with an Honorary Doctor of Divinity for his leadership of the Church in the North of England, as well as his contributions to public discourse on matters of faith and social justice, during Liverpool Hope University’s Winter Graduation.

The ceremony, to take place on 23 January, comes in the final months of Dr Sentamu’s role as Archbishop, with the 70-year-old due to retire on June 7.

Dr Sentamu said: “I was surprised, humbled and delighted when I was invited to receive an honorary doctorate from Liverpool Hope University.

“I have visited Liverpool many times, most recently as part of the Tell Serve Give mission weekend in March 2019, and have always been warmly welcomed.

“The universities are an integral part of this city as students of all ages come to study and to realise their potential.

“Liverpool Hope has strong Christian foundations reaching back over 175 years and I am encouraged that it is built upon unity and inclusion. I’d very much like to thank Liverpool Hope University for awarding me this honorary degree.”

Born in Kampala, Dr Sentamu practised Law at the Bar and the Bench and is an Advocate of the High Court of Uganda.

He arrived in the UK in 1974, fleeing the brutality of President Idi Amin having been critical of the military dictatorship.

He was ordained a Deacon and Priest in 1979 and went on to hold a number of positions, including Assistant Chaplain at Selwyn College Cambridge; Assistant Curate at St Andrew’s Ham and Chaplain at Latchmere House Remand Centre; Assistant Curate, St Saviour’s Saviour’s and St Paul’s, Herne Hill and Vicar of Holy Trinity and St Matthias, Tulse Hill.

Dr Sentamu was appointed Bishop for Stepney in 1996, Bishop for Birmingham in 2002 and Archbishop of York in 2005.

Meanwhile Dr Sentamu’s eye-catching public appearances have endeared him to his supporters - so much so that he was named Yorkshire Man of the Year in 2007.

In June 2008 he took part in a charity skydive to raise £50,000 for the Afghanistan Trust, which supports soldiers and their families, falling 12,500 feet with a member of the Red Devils parachute team.

In August 2006 Dr Sentamu camped for a week in York Minster while forgoing food in order to raise awareness of those affected by conflict between Israel and Lebanon, particularly children and older people.

And he used his recent - and final - Christmas Day sermon at York Minster to call for greater compassion for the poor.

He told the congregation: “The birth of Jesus wedded heavenly glory and earthly poverty.

“Consequently, no one dare despise the poor, the needy, those on the margins of society, since the Son of God was born in a stable and cradled in a feeding trough."

Professor Gerald Pillay, Vice-Chancellor and Rector of Liverpool Hope University, said he was looking forward to welcoming Dr Sentamu to the city.

He added: “This honour is to be conferred on someone who has left an indelible mark, not just on the Church, but on people across Britain.

“Dr Sentamu has long sought to address some of the glaring inequalities in society, bringing together multi-faith communities while campaigning for equality and diversity.

“He’s also been a real champion of Britain’s youth, recognising them as leaders of today, not tomorrow, while warning against the cult of celebrity.

“We will be delighted to formally welcome Dr Sentamu into the University as a Doctor of Divinity (honoris causa).”

The Winter Graduation Ceremony will be held on Thursday 23 January 2020 in The Metropolitan Cathedral of Christ the King.

The next Archbishop of York to be appointed when Dr John Sentamu steps down will be Stephen Cottrell, current Bishop of Chelmsford.

Published on 14/01/2020