poll puts sentamu as front runner to become head of Church of England

Most Christians in Britain would prefer John Sentamu to become the next Archbishop of Canterbury.

According to a ComRes poll for Premier Christian Radio, 45% of Pentecostals identify Dr Sentamu, who is currently Archbishop of York, as their favourite for the post, along with 35% of Roman Catholics and 43% of Anglicans.

The results of the poll seem to echo the wishes of the leaders of the wider Anglican Church overseas, numbering 80 million. A letter, signed by 17 archbishops and bishops from four continents in July, was sent to the selection committee, urging them to choose someone prepared to take a stand against liberal values on issues such as homosexuality.

Their intervention boosts Dr Sentamu’s chances of being selected, as he is well-regarded in Africa and elsewhere. Ugandan-born Dr Sentamu has been a critic of Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe, and in 2008 called for Mugabe to be removed from power.

Dr Sentamu has also criticised the BBC in 2006 for being too timid to be critical of Islam, while taking liberties with Christians. He said, “They can do to us what they dare not do to the Muslims. We are fair game because they can get away with it. We don’t go down there and say, ‘We are going to bomb your place.’ That is not in our nature.”

Dr Sentamu is unusual in that he writes regularly for The Sun, a tabloid newspaper. Earlier this year, after announcing his standing, he faced an internal Anglican smear campaign against him as the only Black bishop in the Church of England.

Shirin Aguiar – Holloway

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