Archbishop honoured at a JPR dinner

By Simon Rocker, June 13, 2008

One of the UK’s leading Christian personalities has been honoured by the Institute for Jewish Policy Research for his contribution to public life.

The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu, received JPR’s Golden Jubilee award at a dinner in his honour at Glaziers Hall in London last Wednesday.

Speaking on the role of religion in politics, Dr Sentamu — famously without the dog-collar which he tore off in December and vowed not to put back until Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe left office — greeted his audience with “Shalom”.

He said: “I belong to a religious tradition which at times has organised inquisitions. As a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, a Jew, I am sorry and deeply ashamed. And especially over the Holocaust, where God was violated.”

Criticising the “rapacious consumerist appetite” of society, he said it had “led to the situation where unfettered rights and entitlements have come to the fore, while responsibility has not simply gone out of fashion but seems to have fallen off the radar”.

The charismatic cleric had got to know JPR president Lord Haskel during their work for a think-tank founded in honour of the late Labour leader John Smith.

When his microphone failed, Dr Sentamu had to trust his preacher’s voice to deliver his address. It was not his only mishap before a Jewish audience, he noted. His previous appearance was on a hot summer’s night when four of his audience fainted.

Last updated: 3:35pm, September 22 2009