RETIREMENT may be looming for the Archbishop of York (officially on 7 June), but he remains focused on Gospel mission.

Archbishop John Sentamu
“Perfect love casts out fear”, says Archbishop John Sentamu (Roger Harris CC BY 3.0)

The Most Rev Dr John Sentamu was due to be a speaker at Spring Harvest 2020. Organisers have now cancelled the event because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Even so, Dr Sentamu is unafraid of the virus and wants Christians to take advantage of the crisis for evangelism. Recently the Diocese of York held a ‘Come and See’ mission week, with 30 bishops and helpers from the northern part of the country coming together for evangelistic activity.

Dr Sentamu has said publicly that fear can result from events like the coronavirus outbreak. He cited 1 John 4:18: “perfect love drives out fear,” and encouraged people to “love your neighbour” and help them understand God’s love.

In a joint statement with the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, Dr Sentamu said: “The answer to conquering this fear is love that we receive. The tears of the child wakened by a bad dream are stilled by the embrace of someone who loves them. The uncertainty of someone of great age is often quietened with a familiar voice. The words of a friend can enable us to challenge the fears of illness to reduce our sense of threat.”

Dr Sentamu and his wife Margaret (whom he ordained last year) was born in Kampala, Uganda. He was the sixth of 13 children and educated by English missionaries. The Sentamus fled to Britain in 1974 after John endured a brief spell in prison for opposing the dictator, Idi Amin.

The new Archbishop of York will be the current Bishop of Chelmsford, the Rt Rev Stephen Cottrell.

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