Archbishop shorn and anointed in preparation for prayer and fasting
Monday 14th August 2006The Archbishop of York had his head shaved and anointed with oil during the Sunday morning act of worship at York Minster.
The acts of preparation came as the Most Revd Dr John Sentamu began a seven-day fast and prayer vigil for the Middle East.
After the service the Archbishop entered the tent which he has pitched in St. John's Chapel inside the Minster where he will be sleeping for the next seven nights as part of his vigil.
The acts of preparation came as the Archbishop announced his intention to forego his seven days' holiday to Salzburg in order to camp inside York Minster where he has asked people from all over the country to join him in heart and mind to pray every hour for peace in the conflict between Israel and Lebanon, and for good community relations in Britain.
"Around my neck I wear a cross which bears the words of Archbishop Oscar Romero: 'Peace will flower when love and justice pervade our environment.' The events of the past weeks show how far we are, as a world and as a nation, from that place which Romero describes.
"I have received letters and calls from people about this conflict, and people are asking 'What can I do?' They feel helpless, they feel bewildered but they want to do something in response to the suffering that they have been watching on their televisions, hearing on their radios and reading in their newspapers.
"So my call to everyone is to join me in prayer, join me in fasting join me in providing a meal for every displaced person – especially women and children, medicine for the sick; and at a future date be part of the reconstruction of the areas, in both countries, that have been destroyed.
"Will you join me in standing up against violence as an unacceptable means of trying to change one another's views and lives ? Whether in our own skies or the skies above the Middle East, bombing and violence cannot be the way in which we seek to change that which we don't like in the world. There has to be another way. Each one of us has to be the change we want to see in the world.
"That is why I am asking people from all over the country to join me in our common desire for peace, and for love and justice to pervade our environment."