Archbishop wants poverty to take centre stage

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 10/03/2014
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Archbishop of York Dr John Sentamu

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The second most powerful ranked person in the Anglican Church is supporting the move to have female bishops consecrated in the Church of England.

The Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, spoke in New Plymouth of his long-term support for the law change yesterday.

It was time for the controversy to be over so the Church of England could concentrate on its most pressing issue, that of poverty, he said.

"Im hoping we can get [the legislation] through and then move on to what we have committed ourselves to be doing. That must be the area that we must concentrate on most, dealing with the poor.

"People are finding life hard, so the church doesn't always have this sapping energy. So I'm hopeful."

But nothing was a sure thing, he said. "I've been in Parliament long enough to know you can't predict the result."

The archbishop was visiting New Plymouth again this weekend to attend the official welcome to the 7th Bishop of Waikato and Taranaki, the Right Reverend Dr Helen-Ann Hartley.

Bishop Hartley, consecrated two weeks ago, is the first woman ordained in the Church of England before moving to New Zealand. She becomes the third woman in this country to become a bishop.

The service was in St Mary's Cathedral, where the archbishop last visited in 2010 for the cathedral's consecration.

The archbishop said the "exciting" new legislation in England was more simple and clearer than existing laws.

It requires that everyone flourish and not be discriminated against but was primarily focused on allowing women to be consecrated as bishops.

Prior legislation enacted in 1992 did not allow for this to occur.

The new legislation had been sent to the dioceses where two-thirds were required to approve.

It would then go to the synod in July for approval then, as part of the law of England, move on to Parliament. The Queen's signature, as the supreme governor of the Church of England, would mark the final stage.

The Ugandan-born archbishop of the Anglican Church is ranked second only to the Archbishop of Canterbury in the church's hierarchy.

The archbishop will move on to the University of Otago to study theology and present a keynote address at an all-day symposium Poverty, Global and Local on March 17.

He also expressed his hope that there would be a bridge between Maori and the Crown against the "very difficult" 200 years of history of Taranaki.

While he was in Dunedin, where he was aware some Taranaki Maori were exiled, Dr Sentamu said he hoped he would be able to attend a marae.

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