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Dr Sentamu pays tribute to Lord Habgood

15 March 2019

THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, spoke on Thursday of last week of the death, aged 91, of a former Archbishop of York, Lord Habgood

Stewart Kendall/Sportsphoto

Lord Habgood, photographed in 1990

Lord Habgood, photographed in 1990

THE Archbishop of York, Dr Sentamu, has paid tribute to Lord Habgood, a previous Archbishop of York, who died on Wednesday of last week, aged 91. He described his “towering presence, physical, intel­lectual, and spiritual. . .

“As a hugely distinguished scientist, theologian and philosopher, Archbishop Habgood’s faith in Christ gave him a particular perspective and a persuasive witness both to Church and nation for his time.

“His many books simplified big and complex questions, revealing an incredibly perceptive intellect. I’m very glad to have confirmed his grandchildren, and dedicated a room in his honour at Bishopthorpe Palace.”

Lord Habgood served as Bishop of Durham for ten years, until 1983, when he became Archbishop of York, holding office until 1995. After his retirement, he was appointed a life peer in 1995, and he sat in the House of Lords until 2011.

The Archbishop of Canterbury posted a message on Twitter: “Giving thanks for the long life and remarkable ministry of former Archbishop of York John Hapgood — especially his great intellectual gifts, his care about injustice, and his faithful spiritual leadership. May he rest in peace and rise in glory.”

Speaking on Radio 4’s Sunday programme, the Rt Revd David Wilbourne, an Honorary Assistant Bishop in York diocese, and a former chaplain to Lord Habgood, said: “He’d trained as a scientist, a physiologist, and a pharmacologist, but he was a master of all sciences. For a while, he was a fundamentalist Christian, but then his scientific training kicked in and brought a scientific rigour to his faith, which remained throughout his ministry. I think he believed that God has given us a brain, and, boy, did he use it.

“Without him, today we would have no Church of England, or two Churches of England: when General Synod voted for women priests in 1992, which John Habgood was very much in favour of, he steered the ship. . . He was the architect of the Act of Synod. It was 1992’s version of Brexit, but he got it through.”


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