HOW apt that Dr John Sentamu should have been serenaded by a stirring rendition of Amazing Grace on his return to York after his six-month pilgrimage of prayer, witness and blessing.
Its poignant and uplifting words, ‘Tis Grace has brought me safe thus far, and Grace will lead us home’, are emblematic of an inspirational figure whose spiritual journey has taken him from Uganda to York Minster where he marked the culmination of his latest odyssey with the ordination of 22 priests.
They know that they were in the presence of an Archbishop of York like no other. And Yorkshire, and also the Church of England, is blessed to be in the presence of such an inspirational individual who continues to lead by deed and example rather than pontificate from the sidelines, whether it be his condemnation of Robert Mugabe, prayer vigils for causes close to his conscience or simply meeting the people.
It is a measure of the Archbishop’s energy that he feels both recuperated and re-energised by a deeply personal pilgrimage which saw this tireless 66-year-old walk 2,000 miles in all weathers. The restorative and recuperative powers of this mission should not be under-estimated.
Yet it also showed Dr Sentamu that the Church will be diminished in status if it allows internal wrangling to stand in the way of positive engagement with the communities, and people, that it purports to serve. After his own Pilgrim’s Progress which provided great insight into issues like education and farming, the Archbishop is likely to be an even greater force for good now that he has resumed official duties.