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This is an archived website containing material relating to Dr Rowan Williams’ time as Archbishop of Canterbury, which ended on 31st December 2012

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Freedom and Fairtrade

Archbishop speaking at the Wilberforce LectureArchbishop apology for the Anglican Church's participation in the slave trade

On his return from the West Indies, where the evils of slavery had been rife, the Archbishop apologised for the Anglican Church's participation in the slave trade. He reflected on his visit in 2007 and compared the historical scene with forms of slavery today in a Wilberforce Lecture entitled 'Freedom is coming'. His lecture called for the eradication of below-subsistence wages and encouraged support for fair-trade produce including tea, sportswear and chocolate. The Wilberforce Lecture Trust celebrates the historic role of Kingston upon Hull in combating the abuse of Human Rights personified in the work of the abolitionist William Wilberforce.

Freeman of the City of Montego Bay

The Archbishop of York, Dr. John Sentamu, has been made a free man of a city which was part of the Golden Triangle of the Slave Trade. During a visit to Jamaica to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Abolition of the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade, Dr. Sentamu was made a free man of the city of Montego Bay and given a key to the city. The Archbishop was given the honour due to his "fight for justice and freedom on behalf of the fellowman".

Accepting the key of the city the Archbishop spoke of the challenges that faced cities everywhere: "The responsibility of every councillor is to ensure that Montego Bay resembles the city of God. And in the city of God, everyone is welcome. At the end we will not be judged by how well we play, but by how well we serve, particularly the poor and the people facing poverty and injustices".

Special convocation at UWI for Sentamu

Dr John Sentamu has apologised to the people of the West Indies for the involvement of the Anglican Church in the transatlantic slave trade. The Archbishop was speaking at a special convocation of the University of the West Indies (UWI) where he was made an honorary Doctor of Laws.  This marked the sixth time in the history of the UWI that a special convocation was held. Those honoured at past convocations include Desmond Tutu in 1986, Nelson Mandela in 1991, Colin Powell in 1994, Harry Belafonte in 1996 and Kofi Annan in 1998.

Speaking at the National Arena, before a capacity crowd, Dr. Sentamu urged the congregation to pursue authenticity and to rejoice in God's individual gifts to each: "God rejoices in the fact that he created each one of you ... That is the greatest message of the sermon this morning, be yourself and don't try and be somebody else."

For more information about the Archbishop's visit to Jamaica and The Cayman Islands in 2007, commemorating abolition of Trans-Altlantic Slave Trade, you can read more West Indies visit