As the second most senior figure in the Church of England, this pioneer used his platform – and unique panache – to reconnect the CoE with its people through acts of kindness and the power of prayer. He truly led by exmaple.
And how fitting that it was this Archbishop who had the honour of consecrating the first female bishop – and the poise to silence a lone objector who briefly interjected in York Minster.
Yet, while his successor Stephen Cottrell will also bring special attributes when he inherits the Archbishop’s symbolic crozier next month, it is here in Yorkshire where Dr Sentamu will be so missed.
Our prime minister in more ways than one, the Archbishop of York Youth Trust – and Acts 435 charity – are just two examples of the many occasions where his words were also matched by deeds, a rare gift.
They’re lasting legacies which are also testament to the faith and commitment of Dr Sentamu’s family, and the team at Bishopthorpe Palace, who have worked so hard to keep up with this force of nature. They’re as much a part of this story as the Archbishop himself.
And while Dr Sentamu says he will miss the people most of all when he moves to Northumberland for the next chapter of his journey through life, his one lingering regret, and it is a genuine one, is that One Yorkshire devolution remains elusive. “No East, no West, no North, no south but One Yorkshire. Together we are Yorkshire,” he continues to beseech.
Yet, as this county gives its collective thanks to Dr Sentamu for his presence and service here, it is to be hoped that the Archbishop’s mission – and his mantra – guides the region’s leaders so they can, in time, honour his vision for the county that he was proud to call home.
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