Friday, August 18, 2006

What did you do on your summer vacation?

If you're Archbishop John Sentamu, Anglican Archbishop of York and second only to the archbishop of Canterbury in the Church of England, you camp out in your church.

Sentamu, a native of Uganda, became increasingly disturbed by the coverage of the conflict in Lebanon, so he decided to skip his German vacation, pitch a tent in his cathedral, Yorkminster, and go on a 7-day water fast, praying every hour from 9 am to 5 pm and getting up for further prayers through the night.

All you folks who wish young people would return to the church should give Sentamu a second look, according to the Guardian, whose reporter writes, "The interview finishes in time for [Sentamu] to return to prayer. A few minutes later, he is back beside me, silently handing over a card. Inside, a 17-year-old girl has written to tell him how moved she has been by his action and is enclosing her pocket money, a £20 note. 'If only this generosity, this desire to love your neighbour, could spread,' he says, 'we could solve this without war.' "

Another noteworthy quote: "I think this has taught me to listen and not to grumble. We as a church are preoccupied with sexual morality, but there is a more important morality in terms of poverty, justice and equality. This has been helpful. One drop of water cannot turn a water wheel but many drops can." This while many of his brother bishops are practically campaigning among conservative Episcopal bishops in the U.S. about the gay issue.

Preach it, brother.

Oh, and by the way, Sentamu started his fast on Sunday; a ceasefire went into effect on Sunday. Not wanting to take any credit, the archbishop notes, "The more I pray, the more coincidences there are."


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