WEST INDIES: In Jamaica, Archbishop of York to commemorate transatlantic slave trade abolition

October 2, 2007

The Anglican Diocese of Jamaica will welcome the Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, for an official visit to the island October 5-12, in commemoration of the bicentenary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade.

Sponsored by Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS), Sentamu's week-long visit is themed "Called to Freedom, Working for Justice, Embracing Responsibility."

Bishop Alfred Reid of Jamaica and The Cayman Islands called Sentamu a champion for freedom and justice.

"It is common to invite people to speak, but he is a person who embodies freedom, he is not a token, but he is a champion for justice," said Reid, according to the Jamaica Gleaner.

Sentamu, the Church of England's second-in-command, will be awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws (honoris causa) by the University of the West Indies, Mona, at a special convocation on October 6. Past recipients of the honorary degree have included Desmond Tutu (1986), Nelson Mandela (1991), Colin Powell (1994), Harry Belafonte (1996) and Kofi Annan (1998).

"The awarding of the honorary degree is most important," said Reid. "In honoring him we are honoring ourselves and recognizing the role of the Church in the field of education in Jamaica."

Sentamu is scheduled to attend a commemorative service on October 7 at the National Arena and is also due to address the Anglican Youth Assembly at the National Indoor Sports Centre in St. Andrew. He will also visit the cathedral of St. Jago De la Vega in Spanish Town and tour the Spanish Town Square.

Sentamu will visit Mandeville on October 10 where he will meet clergy and church workers of the region. He will travel October 11 to Montego Bay, where he is scheduled to tour the Glendevon community, returning to Kingston in the evening to attend a farewell ceremony at The Little Theatre.

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