Drums and Dance Herald Archbishop; We've Lost the Power and Joy That Makes Real Disciples, and We've Become Consumers of Religion and Not Disciples of Jesus Christ Dr John Sentamu

The Birmingham Post (England), December 1, 2005 | Go to article overview
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Drums and Dance Herald Archbishop; We've Lost the Power and Joy That Makes Real Disciples, and We've Become Consumers of Religion and Not Disciples of Jesus Christ Dr John Sentamu


Byline: By Alistair Keely

York Minster has probably seen nothing like it ever before.

A 20-strong group of dancers - some bare-chested - performed a dance of "rejoicing and thanksgiving" wearing colourful head plumage of red, white and black feathers and leopardskin print skirts and T-shirts.

The 3,000-strong congregation was mesmerised by the spectacle.

The new Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, had just been presented to the congregation during his inauguration ceremony when the Bwola dance was performed.

The ancient walls of York Minster echoed to the rhythms of African drumming and high-pitched wailing for several minutes.

Most of the service was dominated by ancient ritual and tradition but the new Ugandan-born Archbishop, formerly Bishop for Birmingham, brought a flavour of Africa to the proceedings with costumes and African music.

The new Archbishop led the way with his own choice of costume - a brightly-coloured, specially-designed cope and mitre.

The flamboyant costume was based on a picture called The Tree of Life which hangs in his private chapel in Birmingham.

Either side of the dancing was the traditional Church of England service.

The Archbishop entered the cathedral with a pastoral staff made from an olive tree in Bethlehem.

During the service he received a silver pastoral staff, which symbolises the pastoral care of diocese and province.

The Braganza Crozier has been used in the Minster with little interruption since 1688 and is used by the Archbishops when functioning in the cathedral.

During the lavish ceremony, the Archbishop took his oath on a manuscript book of the four Gospels written and decorated by Eadui Basan and other monks of Canterbury about the year 1000 and brought to York by Wulfstan, Archbishop from 1003 to 1023.

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